As our parents get older, it is not an easy task to know what our role as adult children should be. We want what’s best for them, but if we’re not cautious, we could easily overstep our boundaries and find ourselves attempting to smother senior independence and parent our parents.
This is especially true when safety is a concern. There’s a thin line to walk between affirming senior parents are safe, and supporting the independent way of life they need and deserve. After all, it was not all that long ago when our parents were taking care of not just all of their own needs, but ours as well. The transition from caregiver to care recipient is typically frustrating and painful for seniors.
Keeping this in mind, there are specific facets of an independent life that a senior may now be missing. And if we aren’t careful in how we approach these losses, it can produce arguments, hurt feelings, and fractured relationships.
For example, one element of senior independence that is often compromised is when others step in to take control of tasks that may now be a bit more difficult and take a bit longer for a senior to perform. While the intentions are certainly good, it’s actually bad for a senior’s self-worth and self-esteem. An improved approach is always to allow more time, and to only offer assistance when absolutely necessary.
One of the most significant indicators of freedom is the ability to drive, to go wherever and whenever we please. When driving is no longer safe for an older adult, it is essential to approach the subject with tact and empathy. Neuropsychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez explains that too often, adult children lose patience with their senior parents, ultimately saying hurtful comments that may be truly traumatic.
He recommends avoiding making statements such as, “You’re not allowed to operate a vehicle any longer!” It really is much kinder and more effective to present seniors with choices, and to engage them in brainstorming a feasible alternative. A typical example of this could be, “I know it’s getting harder to be able to see clearly now, which must make it challenging to operate a vehicle. Let’s discuss some options that will allow you to go wherever you want safely.”
Working together, you can come up with a plan that is agreeable to everybody. When contemplating choices, keep in mind that Amy’s Helping Hands’ caregivers are available any time, day or night, to provide safe transportation and accompaniment for seniors. Our trusted home care in Windsor, Ontario and the surrounding communities can be customized to each senior’s wishes and schedule, whether that means a regular lunch date with a friend, medical or salon appointments, attending religious services, or just a Sunday afternoon drive to get out of the house and enjoy the scenery. Email or call us at 519.915.4370 for details and to set up an in-home assessment.