When you decide to place one of your parents in a caring facility, it is highly probable that neither of you will be 100% happy with the care.
After all, the personnel can only do their best, but they do not have the same knowledge of your parent as you do.
Nor are they emotionally involved with them…
Although I’ve seen some truly heart-warming and attentive professional carers before, the bottom line is that your parent is not their parent.
They Are All Caring For Several Persons
But this does not mean they don’t care.
In my experience, they really do care very much about your parent. They wouldn’t have gone into professional caring otherwise.
It’s just that they have many others to care for as well.
That means that they cannot afford to become too emotionally involved with those in their care. Otherwise it would just be completely mentally exhausting to do their job.
If every caregiver became emotionally involved with everyone in their charge as if they were their own parent… they would not last in the job for long.
Naturally, they have to be practical about it and provide loving care for your parent without becoming emotionally and physically drained.
They Care, Just Not In The Same Way You Do
This may be hard for you to understand because you love your parent and want to make sure they get the best available care.
But it’s different to invest your time and energy providing care to one or two parents that you have known your whole life… than having to care for perhaps 5 or 6 people that you have only known briefly.
Also, the carers may simply come from a different culture, background or ethnicity than you and your parents.
Obviously, every person’s way of expressing care is different.
It doesn’t mean they don’t care… but that they do it differently.
Ways You Can Help Your Professional Carer (And Your Parent)
It’s hard enough to accept that you are not able to care for your parent.
Sometimes it can even be harder for the caregiver if you don’t tell them much about your parent and the things that are important to them.
One way you can do this is to compile a life story on your parent.
If you can do it well before they go into care, that’s even better.
You can sit down with them and find out about what it was like for them when they grew up. All the things that they enjoyed when young or life changing events.
Not only will this result be very satisfying for you… it will also help the caregivers to better understand your parent.
And in turn, that will result in better care for your parent.
Craft An Advanced Care Plan
Another thing you can do is take a look at our article on Advanced Care Plans and craft one with your parent.
Again, it will mean you need to sit down with them and write down all the things that they consider important when going into care.
The best time to do this is when they are fit and well. It is like an insurance policy to ensure they get taken care of the way they want to.
It could also mean having to face some eventual decisions, like cremation or burial/funeral wishes.
Although I understand it’s not the nicest conversation to have, the sooner you have these discussions with them… the less stressful it will be for you and those around you when the time comes.
It also means that they can rest assured in their last wishes being respected, instead of leaving their loved ones with a lot of guess work.
It’s A Natural Conversation To Have
Maybe you don’t like to have, or even think about having, these discussions (you’re not alone).
But in my experience, most older people are very pragmatic about these things.
They probably have already experienced the loss of their friends or some older family members, so they know it will be inevitable for them one day.
If you sit down with them and have a conversation about their life, eventually it can move into things they have never told you and from there onto more difficult decisions.
With the right mood and everyone feeling calm and comfortable, it will feel like a natural progression.
Things To Remember
A few key things to keep in mind when coming to terms with professional caring are:
- It is not possible for a facility to care for you parent exactly as you would
- Plan ahead and write your parent’s story so the carers will know who your parent is
- Broach the hard to discuss topics with your parent and give them not only the best care they would like but the best send-off they could have, i.e. one where they have input.
It Could Be An Extremely Meaningful Experience
Taking the time to sit down and talk with your parents could be the greatest gift you ever receive from them.
The things they can tell you over a conversation like that, are things you probably won’t forget. Wisdom that you’ll pass on to others.
So don’t be afraid. Start now. Well before a crisis occurs if possible.
If they are in care now, this will help to make your visits so much easier.
Remember, when a person goes into care, their world becomes very small.
All they have to talk about is what happens in the care facility and what their life was like before.
What better way to reconnect with your parent than to write down their history… to get them to talk about themselves?
Not only will you find out a lot you didn’t know, it will also make your time together more enjoyable and help you understand your parent, and yourself, much better.