This Aging Life Care consultant is giving you a test:
The question: Why do your adult parents love to say “No” to their adult children?
- Because they like to be in the driver’s seat, even thou they may no longer be driving.
- Because they like things just the way they have been for fifty years, and change is just not necessary.
- Because they have lost so much of what they were once able to do, that they are going to hold on to what is still in their clutches?
- All the above.
If you have answered all the above, chances are you are whirling around in the vortex of the caregiver cyclone.
Question two: What are the correct reactions to such a situation:
- Damn it! They were always stubborn and now it’s getting worse.
- If feel so guilty making them move out of their home, but I just can’t do it anymore.
- They make me so angry, I’m ready to just walk away and let them do whatever they want.
- All the above.
If you again answered, “All the above,” I now know for sure you are in the thrusts of the caregiving role.
Resistance by parents becomes more common with loss. It is an instinctive reaction to try to hold on to what you can when you know control is slipping away. Counselling adult children, I have found three effective strategies for handling this struggle:
- Say it once. After the second time, it becomes nagging and will distance parents from further discussions.
- Pick your battles. It is more important that mom see her neurologist once month than getting her hair colored so she looks likes the mother you want to remember.
- Use the “escape hatch” approach to areas where you would like to see change. Ask dad to “try home care for just two weeks, we can always make a change if it doesn’t work out.”
As an Aging Life Care consultant, I have seen how frustrating the resistance of adult seniors can be. Yet, none of us have been old so how can we possibly understand fully what our parents are going thru. With empathy and employing the three strategies, perhaps we can come a little closer to lessening our parents’ resistance and, in turn, our frustration.