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“Stop worrying about me. Everything’s fine.” “I don’t need anyone’s help.” “I don’t want to be a burden.”
If you have an elderly parent who lives on his or her own, chances are you’ve gotten one or more of these responses whenever you bring up the subject about how they’re doing.
For the adult child, talking to your parent about his or her well-being can be an uncomfortable, stressful undertaking. It’s hard to start looking after someone who once took care of you; or to admit that they are becoming more frail, or forgetful, or unable to do the things they used to. Sometimes it’s easier in the short-term just to accept their reassurances that everything is ok rather than risk nagging or upsetting them.
Understandably, remaining in their own home is one of the fiercest desires of people in their late 70s, 80s and 90s who live on their own. Their continued independence is a great source of pride for them. You want to respect their autonomy and trust that they will let you know when they need help. Yet they may resist being completely honest, especially with their children or other family members, about how they’re really doing, out of fear of appearing vulnerable or losing control of their own lives. They may not want to admit to themselves that they might need a little help.
As a result, many people put off “that conversation” with their aging parent until a life-changing circumstance, whether it’s an illness, the loss of a spouse, or fall that forces them to -- and they are unprepared to make the best decisions for their loved one’s future care. “That conversation” is discussing the best living option for them moving forward. Assisted living should be considered a positive option. One that promotes independence, happiness and control.
Read author Melanie Merriman’s first-person account about being a caregiver to her older mother, during her final years -- and what she wishes she had done much sooner.
How can you get beyond the resistance-- yours and your parent’s-- and start talking, before some crisis occurs, so that they can maximize their independence and plan a happy future? Here are a few tips for adult children and caregivers to consider:
Read more of our tips for caregivers of aging loved ones on our Family Resources page.
GreenFields of Geneva is here to help you make the best decision for your senior loved one’s care and lifestyle. Whether you’re looking into assisted living, memory support or traditional independent living, GreenFields is the right choice. In fact, we are one of the leading senior living Life Plan Community in the region and the only community that offers a Life Care option for those entering directly into assisted living or memory care. Learn more about our exceptional lifestyle options, services and amenities.