I’ve been in the in-home care business for many years now, and trust me when I say it’s one of the most difficult processes we go through in our lives. In some cases, a loved one has no choice but to accept help. But in many cases, there is a divide between the children and the parents.
The children believe that a parent is refusing to see the shortfalls that have become a part of their daily lives. They are no longer able to live independently and on their own without some kind of help.
For the parents, it’s a different story. They refuse to consider support whatsoever. To them, this is life, this is reality. And the last thing they choose to do is have someone interfere with their lives and their sense of independence, no matter what the cost.
And so the fight begins. Unfortunately in many cases, we see the fight turn into a war.
In order to preserve the relationship, it may be time to take a step back and assess the situation with new eyes.
Process your own frustration
They don’t call this the sandwich generation for nothing. It’s difficult when you know your parents need help, yet work, family and other household commitments are keeping you running 24/7 with your own life. Fitting in your parents’ problems only adds to your stress, and its easy to want to solve the problem as quickly as possible. You may also be experiencing fear. It’s difficult realizing your parents may no longer be able to support you at the level you’ve grown accustomed to. Realize your own frustration level and discover how you can process and manage these new feelings without it impacting this situation.
Put yourself in their shoes
One of the things we all value most in this world is being able to make our own decisions and live life on our terms. When that begins to fade and is taken away, its natural to lash out in many ways. Be forgiving as they fight this new reality. Deep inside they probably know they need help. Knowing it and admitting it are two separate issues.
Step back and determine exactly how much help your parents need. Do they need a little help around the house? Would a few hours a week suffice? Getting your parents to accept little changes is a lot easier than moving full force with something more significant. Instead of agreeing with your parents to put off help as long as possible, find ways to implement small changes instead. Even a weekly housekeeper or introducing lawn service can be a way for your parents to realize its okay to release some of the chores they may have enjoyed in the past.
When possible, have your loved one help with the decision
People do better with change when they feel like their voice has been heard. If at all possible, allow your parents to be a part of the process, deciding what tasks to hand off, and deciding what route to take. As they start accepting new paths and begin making decisions, don’t stop with what is needed today. Create a plan that will carry you forward in the months and years ahead, so you know exactly what course of action they prefer as they continue to age.
Don’t pull the “power of attorney” card
We all have busy lives. And fighting about the same thing over and over again can get weary, especially when needs aren’t being met. It’s easy to put your authority into play to make things happen quickly. Yet if you bring up your position of power, defenses will go up and communication will cease. While your parents need protection from truly dangerous situations, if you can spend the time to get them on board without forcing a situation, you’ll have a much easier time with adjustments, and with continuing down this road in the coming months and years.
If your loved one is still opposed to accepting help, we can help. Give us a call today and speak with one of our care advisers. We’ve been through this many times with other families, and we can offer you advice on taking the next step.