You may need regular respite care to get away from this behavior often enough to take care of your own needs. One thing to be aware of is that many abused children become abusers themselves. This can carry over into elder abuse. Putting an end to this problem by setting clear boundaries, calling in reinforcements, and carrying through by letting others take over the caregiving role when you need respite, could be vital to you and your elder. You don’t want to be a person who “loses it” after being pushed too far by a life-long abuse situation. You don’t want to return abuse. If you recognize abusive feelings surfacing in yourself while you are caring for someone, get help. Stop the cycle as soon as you can by having someone else take over.
Occasionally, the situation is so severe that you, the caregiver, may need to turn your parents over to a guardianship organization. In that way, a non-family member is in charge. You can visit and see to as much care as you can without letting yourself become a victim of more abuse. This is a difficult step, but in some cases it’s the only way out of the abuse cycle.
Counseling can help enormously if you find yourself in this situation. Turning your parents over to the care of others and then feeling guilty about it won’t help you. Discovering the roots of the problem may. Caring for elders is hard enough when they are just cranky or demanding because of aging, loss, and health issues. When they are truly abusive, and the situation is long-standing, caregivers really do need help.
Detaching with love doesn’t have to be this dramatic, but it can be. Either way, following through with detachment and setting personal boundaries could help you weather caregiving in a safe and sane manner.
Detaching With Love: Setting Boundaries in Toxic Relationships originally appeared on AgingCare.com.