Parenting Aging Parents
Parenting Your Aging Parents When They Don’t Want Help it’s an excellent article by Judith Graham. I will try to summarize a few points from the article. I see every day in my practice children who want to help aging parents but usually they don’t know how and tend to impose rather than listen compromising their relationship. Few points to remember when parenting aging parents:
Make preserving trust and keeping your relationship intact a priority. What your parents most need is knowing that you’ll listen to them, take their concerns seriously and stay by their side no matter what happens. Show them love!
Instead of telling your parent what to do, present the problem and ask them how they’d prefer to solve problem. Establish priorities and give them choices whenever possible. Be aware of unexpressed needs and fears. Main fears usually is being afraid of losing their independence, becoming a burden on loved ones, being taken advantage of and relinquishing control over their lives.
Be patient. Give time to your parents to adjust. I always tell children “time is your best friend”. Parents may reject the idea of moving right away but with the right support and love sometimes with time they may realize the need of moving to another place or city. Get your doctor be part of the conversation. If patient has good relation with his/her doctor, he may help giving some points they could make aging parents understand the need of moving.
Let them know you’re on their side. Always remember to respect their wishes even if you may not agree. Understand what are their priorities and their vision of quality of life. For some people stay independent may be a big part of their quality of life. Work with them, negotiate caregivers, emergency alert systems, etc.
This is the final stage of your journey with your parents. Listen, understand, support and show them unconditional love. Hope it helps. Let’s celebrate aging!