It’ll take you by surprise the day your parents can no longer take care of themselves. You’ll start helping them out in tiny increments over the years, helping your dad run errands when he can’t drive far distances and accompanying your mom to doctor’s appointments in case she can’t understand all the information she is given. But you’ll never quite see the day coming when a parent needs to move in with you and become your full-time charge. It’s a very disorienting experience. First and foremost, you’re taking care of another being now, which maybe you weren’t before if you never had children or if your children moved out long ago. Second off, you’re seeing your parent in a whole new way. What you’re doing is very honorable, so you deserve some preparation. Here is what nobody tells you about taking care of an aging parent.

Your parent may resist

It’s very rare that an elderly person is ready to admit that they cannot take care of themselves anymore, so this big move may have some bitterness and resentment surround it, at first.

You may need to take over their finances

If and when your parent stops being of able mind, you may need to legally become responsible for their finances. This is not a comfortable conversation, but a lawyer who specializes in elderly affairs can help make it easier.

You have to be wary of private nurses

If you hire any nurses for additional help, go through a reputable company that only hires certified nurses who’ve undergone extensive screening. There are plenty of “private” nurses who are simply individuals looking to take advantage of the elderly, getting them to purchase the expensive gifts and convincing them to lend them money.

You need to watch their mail

Mail scammers (the kind that state, “If I can just transfer two million dollars into your account for one month…)target the elderly. Keep an eye on the mail that comes in for your parent.

And their email

The elderly are using technology now! And email scams can take your parent’s inbox by storm. Do what you can to monitor your parent’s incoming email.

Your marriage will take a backseat for a moment

If you are married, you’ll quickly find that things like date night, Sunday brunches and long evening cocktail hours come to a halt. It’s difficult to pay much attention to your romantic relationship when you are taking care of an elderly parent.

Ask for help so that you can have a life

You shouldn’t allow this change to ruin your marriage, though. So elicit help from friends and family and hire a nurse you trust so that you and your partner can have important alone time.

It will be very hard to see your parent need help

The role reversal will be extreme. You’ll suddenly be telling your parent, who took care of you for most of your life, what to do. You’ll see a person you once saw as very strong, as weak. Don’t judge yourself for the feelings that come with this change.

But you are still living with your parent again

While your parent will have his weak days, he’ll also have his strong days, and it will feel like you are a teenager again, living under your parent’s roof. This is your parent, after all, and he’ll never stop giving you his opinions on your life.

They will forget things

Your parent will ask you to do things you already did and to buy things you already bought. Try not to become frustrated with them because they probably just forgot.

They may criticize how you take care of them

Your parent isn’t going to love how you do everything, just the way you didn’t love how they did everything when you were growing up under their roof. You may not like their attitude since you are taking care of them but don’t forget all the attitude you gave them as a teen.

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