The Transitional Period

Ah! Sorry for the delay between posts, last week was my convocation. After six years in the making, overcoming a few roadblocks along the way, and shedding a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, I finally graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Nursing.

As much as that journey is a story in itself, today I wanted to write about older adults and aging parents. How does one cope, particularly if there are a lack of supports – family and/or friends? And what is the adult child’s role in caring for the aging parent? How much of yourself do you give and when do you know it’s time to draw the line and establish boundaries? Furthermore, as an Asian family, there are cultural aspects that one needs to be mindful of.

For a little back story, I’m an only child and my family dynamic and the relationships we have are a little… wonky (for lack of a better word). Which I find makes the role of caregiving more difficult – especially for my mom since it’s just she and my dad at home. As an adult child, what I’m struggling with is setting boundaries and figuring out when and how to ask other family members for help. While at the same time, doing so in a way that doesn’t upset other people in the family. As someone who hasn’t been directly involved in the turmoil, my interpretation is that the issues are deep-seated and is why sides were made to be chosen. I also feel it’s why there are a lack of supports around us.

So, here I am struggling with what to do. I know part of the answer is accepting that I can’t please everyone and if my intentions are good, it shouldn’t matter who I upset. But, I still struggle with wanting to keep the peace because of past experiences.

Being in the position of Switzerland, I feel it could affect my relationships within the family if I do initiate contact (for help). The explosions that occur between family members can be so intense, it literally makes you want to run for cover. Moreover, I struggle with feeling selfish and neglectful. Is my avoidant coping mechanism inhibiting me from doing the “right” thing? Should I be doing more because I am the only child?

I don’t know.

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