In Caring for an Aging Parent, Are You Overstepping Boundaries as a Helicopter Child?


Learn how to avoid overstepping boundaries when it comes to caring for an aging parent.

We’ve all encountered helicopter parents, especially when a son or daughter leaves for college. In fact, we could possibly be guilty of hovering a touch too closely ourselves. Learning that appropriate harmony between caring and overstepping our boundaries is not easy.

And now, due to the additional number of sandwich generationers caring for an aging parent simultaneously with caring for children, we are in danger of earning another badge of overbearingness: that of a helicopter child. It’s quite common for adult children to find themselves slipping into a role reversal with their aging parents, with the very best of intentions, of course; naturally, we want to keep our loved ones safe. However, this can lead older adults to feel indignant, offended, or simply discouraged at their new lack of control.

If you believe you are infringing on your aging parent’s rights and sense of self-worth and control, here’s insight from Responsive Home Care, providers of the high quality home care in Plantation, FL families trust.

Talk about objectives. Engage the senior in a conversation about aging plans, and exactly how she would like you to help out with obtaining those goals. For example, in the event the senior were to be diagnosed with dementia, would the personal preference be to move into a dementia care facility, or stay at home with assistance? In the event the senior were to fall, necessitating surgery or rehabilitation, how would she envision her recovery experience? Would she be more happy getting help with personal care tasks, such as bathing and using the toilet, from you or from a skilled caregiver?

Speak up when necessary. When safety is compromised, it’s essential to step in, keeping a respectful, collaborative mind-set. The objective is to make sure the senior maintains as much self-sufficiency as possible. If she’s unwilling to accept help and support or even make sensible decisions, such as taking advantage of a walker when needed to avoid a fall, it may be beneficial to engage the help of her doctor or a geriatric care manager to provide recommendations.

Otherwise, step back. When you are wanting to influence circumstances that are not affecting the senior’s health or safety, and she is cognitively still capable of making her own decisions, it is better to let those worries go. “A child should be sensitive to a parent’s need for self-determination and maintaining self-identity,” said Barry Jacobs, clinical psychologist and author of The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers: Looking After Yourself and Your Family While Helping Aging Parents.

Call Responsive Home Care, the top provider of home care in Plantation, FL and nearby areas, at 954-486-6440 or contact us online for professional senior care support that is always geared towards ensuring as much independence as is feasible for older adults, permitting family caregivers the opportunity to care for an aging parent while allowing for the independence he or she desires.