As our parents grow older, it is not necessarily an easy task to know what our role as adult children should be. We want whatever is best for them, but if we’re not mindful, we will overstep our boundaries and discover ourselves attempting to parent our parents.
This is particularly true when safety is a problem. There is a fine line to walk between affirming senior parents are safe, and promoting the independent lifestyle they require and deserve. All things considered, it was not all that long ago when our parents were meeting not merely all of their own needs, but ours as well. The change from care provider to care recipient is usually frustrating and painful for seniors.
With this in mind, there are specific aspects of independent life that a senior may now be lacking. If we aren’t careful in how we approach these losses, it may bring about hurt feelings, arguments, and fractured relationships.
For instance, one element of senior independence that is often compromised is in others stepping in to take control of tasks that could now be a bit more difficult and take a bit longer for a mature adult to perform. While the intentions are certainly the very best, it’s actually harmful to a senior’s self-worth and self-esteem. A better approach is always to allow a lot of extra time, and to only offer assistance when truly necessary.
Yet one of the greatest indicators of freedom is the capability 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 tact and empathy. Neuropsychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez explains that all too often, adult children lose patience with their senior parents, leading to hurtful comments that can be truly traumatic.
He recommends avoiding phrases such as, “You’re not allowed to drive any longer!” It is much kinder and much more effective to present seniors with choices, and to engage them in brainstorming a potential alternative. A good example of this could be, “I’m sure it’s getting difficult for you to see clearly now, which must make it really difficult to drive your car. Let’s talk about some options that will enable you to go wherever you want safely.”
Together, then you can come up with an idea that is agreeable to everyone. When it comes to choices, take into account that Responsive Home Care’s caregivers are available any time, day or night, to provide safe accompaniment for seniors. Our services are available according to each senior’s wishes and timeframe, whether that means a weekly lunch date with a friend, medical or salon visits, attending religious services, or simply a chance to get out of the house and enjoy the local scenery. Contact us for details.