(Over)life tips for parent carers
When you suddenly realise that your parents are becoming children who need more and more support, attention and care, it is a drastic change for most people. The relationship turns around. Roles are redistributed. And when children take on the task of caring for their ageing parents, guilty consciences, constant worries and the feeling of "no matter how much I do, it's never enough" are constant companions. In addition, there are the challenges of their own occupation.
Petra Wieschalla has also made this experience. Formerly an international project manager in large corporations, she is now an author, family coach and dementia expert - and knows exactly the challenges of caring relatives.
A moving story that is once again the reason for Petra Wieschalla's work
Petra Wieschalla knows about the practical and emotional difficulties that arise in families. She knows how caring relatives suffer from accompanying their parents' increasingly dependent lives while not neglecting their own. She also knows how stressful fights with seemingly intransigent parents can be. Especially when the issue of dementia is added to the mix. She knows how much caring children are in a dichotomy between grief, anger, rage and love. Not to mention the bureaucratic burdens and duties, for example when it comes to applying for care allowances and care aids or coordinating care services and doctor's appointments.
But perhaps even more important: the experienced contact person for parent carers also knows what helps. For Petra Wieschalla herself has an amazing story to count of a eldercare experience that changed her life.
Her then husband's accident resulted in a life in a wheelchair
Shortly after their wedding 20 years ago, her then-husband had a road accident - and has been paraplegic ever since. Suddenly everything changed. Petra Wieschalla became a carer herself and had to learn from one moment to the next how to completely change their everyday life together, how to communicate with authorities, health insurers and insurance companies, how to make barrier-free living possible and, at the same time, how to find new courage for this unforeseen life. The emotional burden was enormous for her as the wife of a man in a wheelchair and for him as a husband dependent on assistance.
Consciously deciding for each other helped to go new ways
What helped the two in this crisis? The realisation that one always has a choice and that they could decide freely. Completely according to their own motives. And they did. They consciously and voluntarily decided to be for and with each other. Since then, they also and above all looked at the things that would work. And so they enjoyed holidays together, including diving in Egypt and handbike tours in Holland. Wieschalla's husband at the time also began his career as a national player for the German national team in wheelchair curling. As team manager, she accompanied him to international tournaments and eventually even to participation in the 2018 Paralympics in South Korea.
The woman also accompanied her own father, who today provides valuable impulses for hope and confidence
Every person who has already had the experience of seeing their own parents decline in old age knows what that does to you. It can bring a world crashing down. Petra Wieschalla describes her father's cancer diagnosis and the realisation that she would not be able to save him as one of the most painful moments of her life. And at the same time, the conscious accompaniment in his last phase of life was incredibly valuable for both of them. With everything that goes with it: closeness and attention, help and support, contacts with doctors and authorities, good company in difficult times and the appreciation of different needs within the family.
The lesson of caring for relatives - Petra Wieschalla has found her mission
For some time now, the dementia expert has been on a mission to provide targeted support to people who care for their parents. As a relatives' coach, for example, she offers a sensibly designed and holistic coaching package that provides all-round support for parent carers in their tasks. The content: knowledge, checklists, impulses, energy boosters and a personal counselling session.
For many, this coaching is a huge relief, not to be alone, to be able to share one's experiences and to simply allow oneself to be exhausted. Because that helps, reduces stress and opens up perspectives
Book: Survival tips for parent carers
Wieschalla has also written a book. Of course, specifically on the subject. The title: "Survival Tips for Parenting Caregivers - The ideal practical book for all parenting caregivers who want to take control of their lives again". In this sense, the guidebook helps in the situation when children take care of ageing parents and serves as a practical handbook for various challenges.
Petra Wieschalla and famPLUS: a good team
We are very pleased to welcome the expert as a current cooperation partner and to be able to offer joint advisory services with Petra Wieschalla for parent carers and all around the topics of "ageing" and "employees with caring responsibilities" in the future.
by Jana Lorenz