Adult children have options when discussing lifestyle changes with their senior parents and taking a moment to hear your parents’ wishes and desires may open the door to even more innovative ideas.
However, we all realize that change is difficult. Psychologists rate moving as one of the most stressful events in our lives and that’s especially true for our seniors. Familiarity and lifelong habits bring a sense of comfort amid a time of change such as when one must give up driving, maintaining one’s home has become impossible, or changes in health require more help at home.
As adult children of senior parents, we sometimes face difficulty in helping our parents work through their changing needs. Sometimes we’re met with resistance, hostility, or denial when we suggest changes.
Some of the observations that we should be aware of is why we’re met with resistance: Are our senior loved ones frightened of change? Will the change be difficult for the senior or other loved ones? Is the change necessary? Will a proposed change in lifestyle enhance the senior’s quality of life?
One positive aspect of change that we can address with our parents is that additional help in the home can extend our loved one’s sense of independence. If our loved one will accept the assistance of a caregiver in their home, this helping hand may allow our seniors to pursue the hobbies and activities that they once enjoyed.
For instance, your parent may enjoy hosting small dinner parties but finds the shopping, preparation and planning to be overwhelming. If a caregiver can assist in some of the chores, your mom or dad may find that they can continue their entertaining schedule with a caregiver’s helping hand and encouragement. This is especially true if you are a long-distance caregiver and your trips home are not frequent enough or your stay is not long enough to help in this type of activity.
Whatever your plan, please keep in mind that our senior parents are dealing with their own concerns and it may be helpful to review these key points:
Understand where the resistance is coming from. Sometimes a senior may not realize that they are in the habit of saying “no”. Or they may resist change based on a negative past experience. Find out what the experience was and determine if that negative feeling can be overcome.
Explain your goals. Remind your senior that bringing additional help into the home may help them with some of the things that they may be missing. Hosting a dinner party? Seeing a theatre production or the latest movie? Visiting friends across town?
Bring in outside help. Ask a professional for help in communicating with your senior.
Research your options to find the best resources for your loved one. Contact the location Area Agency on Aging office or a geriatric care manager. Or check out The Home Care Solution at www.homeinstead.com.
Respect your parent’s decisions. It’s okay to disagree with your parent’s decisions. And, as long as your loved one is of sound mind, please respect their decision.
If you have a suggestion on communicating with your senior loved one, please share your ideas with our readers.