Dealing with aging parents can mean constant worry. Most of us want what’s best for them, but we see changes and can’t help but wonder if they’ll be okay. That often causes us to become overprotective and perhaps even start to treat our parents like children. This comes from a place of love, but it’s usually an unsuccessful approach to dealing with aging parents. Here’s how you can tackle your concerns to be sure your parents will be okay.
Tips for Dealing with Aging Parents
How can you let go of the worry and know Dad will be okay?
No matter the situation, the number one sign that he’ll be okay is Dad’s openness to accepting help. Your family can access solutions for almost any problem that arises when dealing with aging parents. However, we’ve found that one of the biggest hurdles is getting Mom or Dad to accept the solutions. If your parent is unwilling to accept help, you might find yourself in a constant cycle of crisis.
What can you do if Dad isn’t willing to accept help?
You might be reading this and thinking, “Uh oh, my Dad is NOT open to accepting help.” But, any aging parent can open up to accepting help. It may take time and it may mean trying different approaches. It may even take help from another family member, friend or professional. Or, something may need to spark the change.
When dealing with aging parents, we often take the wrong approach in our efforts to help. Studies have shown that the way we offer assistance makes our parents feel “old” which they equate with helplessness and dependence. Instead, we should actively engage our parents in conversations about their hopes and desires for later life. Unfortunately, many of us tend to ignore problems until it’s too late or become overzealous and rushed to “fix things”. Be proactive, take time to listen, and don’t try to force solutions.
It can also help you to talk to someone. This can serve to allay your fears. You can prioritize what needs to be done and explore options that might be a better fit. Additionally, you need to have the tough conversation about your boundaries. We know that’s easier said than done, so you might want to work with a care manager to support you.
Just as Dad’s willingness to accept help shows he’ll be okay, your family opening a dialogue early is the best indicator that your family will be okay.
We all need a support team
Having a support team is a sure sign Dad will do well. When many of us think about getting help as we get older, we only think of nursing services or a care facility. It isn’t surprising our parents would be reluctant to admit needing help. It seems like a loss of freedom, a loss of their identity. But, instead, we can reframe it as a gain. Just take a look at our Five (Not Just Senior) Services to Make Life Better as You Age. A support team isn’t just necessary at a certain age. We all need support…child care, house cleaners, meal delivery services, smart home devices, ride sharing, community centers…friends, family and church members. Life shouldn’t be about struggling to do it all yourself.
Getting a support team in place will make life better for you and your Dad.You need support too. Check out our Caregivers Group on Facebook and join a supportive community of fellow caregivers.
Ready to let go of the worry? Having trouble talking to Dad about your concerns?
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