Parenting is not something anybody can teach you. There are no college courses on how to become a good parent or degrees on how to raise your kids properly. It is something you learn while hands in deck with plenty of mistakes trial and error style. But no parent dies these mistakes on purpose. Their love for their kid has no boundaries and the sacrifices they mam for their children has no price tag. They sacrifice their time, money, sleep, careers (your mom would have been a house wife but did you even ask why 99% of the time was because she wanted to look after you that she quit her job and stayed at home. So be nice to her no one likes to sacrifice their careers for some else), happiness, freedom, dreams and practically their whole lives since parenting is not something you can quit after a couple of years. Even when you are something like 60 plus years old and even if your kids have kids still to your parents you will be their little boy or girl and they will try to look after you (the endless questions of dis you eat, did you sleep, when are you coming home etc.). And once they grow old it is your responsibility to mam sure that you look after these amazing people who has given up a lot of things for you.
Looking after parents once they grow old is not an easy task and I agree with you whole heartedly in that matter. They become like little children demanding this and that, trying to do everything on their own when it is clearly visible that they can’t even tie their shoelaces without someone’s help. Yet they put on temper tantrums and want to be left alone to do their one thing (sounds familiar? We were just like that when we were small). It would be very difficult to balance your career, family life, education, etc. while looking after a sick old parent or both as in some cases, use latex mattress for comfort. But you cannot shrug off responsibility. They managed to raise you up while going through the same difficulties right? So now it’s your turn.
Love and affection is the key. Show them you care and want to spend time with them. Encourage your children to keep company with their grandparents. There is nothing they like more than to listen to their grandkids. You must be patient while you look after them. They can be quite difficult especially of they have something like dementia. Just like they were patient with all your little silly questions when you were a little one now you must put up with theirs. If you can buy household items that will be convenient and easy to be used by the elderly. If your parent is sick and needs specific living conditions then you must pay very close attention to all the details. For an example you can find hospital beds for sale online and get one for your parent.
It may look like an extra amount of money spent in something you don’t need but the truth be told it is a great investment since it can be both comfortable and safe for a patient who is bedridden.