When helping care for parents, it is not necessarily easy to know what role we should take as their adult children. We want whatever is best for them, however if we are not cautious, we can overstep our boundaries and discover ourselves trying to parent our parents.
This is especially true when safety is a concern. There’s a fine line to walk between ensuring senior parents are safe, and supporting the independent way of life they need and deserve. After all, it was not all that far back when our parents were meeting not merely all their own needs, but ours as well. The transition from caregiver to care recipient is often frustrating and painful for seniors.
With this in mind, there are specific elements of independent life that an older adult may now be lacking. And if we aren’t careful in exactly how we approach these losses, it could bring about hurt feelings, arguments, and fractured relationships.
As an example, one facet of senior independence that is often affected is when others step in to take control of tasks which could now be a bit more challenging and take a bit longer for an older adult to accomplish. Even though their intentions may be for the best, it is bad for a senior’s self-worth and self-esteem. A better approach is always to allow additional time, and to only offer them assistance when necessary.
Yet one of the best indicators of freedom is the capacity to drive, to go wherever and whenever we please. When driving is no longer safe for a senior, it’s crucial to approach the topic with empathy and tact. Neuropsychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez explains that all too often, adult children lose patience with their senior parents, leading to hurtful comments which can be truly traumatic.
He recommends avoiding words such as, “You’re not allowed to operate a vehicle any longer!” It really is much kinder and more effective to provide elderly people with choices, and to engage them in brainstorming a feasible alternative. A good example of this might be, “I’m sure it’s getting harder for you to see clearly now, which must ensure it is really difficult to operate a vehicle. Let’s speak about some options that will allow you to go wherever you want safely.”
Together, you can devise a plan that is agreeable to everyone. When contemplating choices, keep in mind that Golden Harmony’s caregivers in Raleigh, NC and the surrounding area are available any time, day, or night. Our services are available in accordance with each senior’s wishes and timeframe, whether that means a weekly lunch date with a pal, medical or salon visits, attending religious services, or just a Sunday afternoon drive to get out of the home and relish the scenery. Call us at 919-426-7522 for details and allow us at Golden Harmony to assist you with care for a senior parent.