Q&A: Elderly parent moving in with us


My elderly mother is no longer able to care for herself and has come to live with my husband and me in our home. We preferred to do this rather than placing her in a nursing home, but we’re not sure that we’re really prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. Do you have any insights?

Answer: It’s important to get in touch with your own feelings as you move into this new phase in your family’s life. You’re probably cycling through a whirlwind of conflicting emotions — compassion and concern, stress, anxiety and frustration, even anger and resentment. There’s nothing wrong with any of these reactions. They’re all part of the process.

Caring for your mum is going to mean more work for you – especially if you’re trying to meet her needs while raising children of your own. Furthermore, caring for an ageing loved one is often the emotional opposite of parenting. As children grow, mums and dads celebrate the passing of exciting milestones. In contrast, the significant milestones in the life of an elder are almost always grim, leading inevitably to death. You may feel deep pain and sadness about the way life is going.

But that’s not the end of the story. Along with feelings of confusion and conflict, you can experience the joy of sharing burdens, growing in relationships, forgiveness and reconciliation. There’s also a sense of satisfaction in knowing that your service and presence bring reassurance, comfort and coherence into your mother’s fragmented world.

If we can help you through this process, please call our Family Support Services at 03-3310 0792 or write to support@family.org.my.

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