There will eventually come a point in time with aging parents or loved ones when the world tilts and roles begin to shift. At this point, we begin to feel more like the parent and less like the child. And for our parents, like it or not, they can begin to feel as if they are being treated like children. This is uncomfortable and heartbreaking for all.
This transition can happen gradually, as cognition and mobility changes. Or a sudden medical condition can alter the balance of decision-making and independence overnight. No matter the reason, navigating the new landscape is fraught with emotion and confusion and, for many, requires strategies that can help preserve dignity and hand back power in the relationship.
The aging process carries fear and loss of personal worth. The “what if’s” of life become reality and the aging parent find themselves torn between dependence and independence.
As parents age, our own sense of reality is affected. The parents who willingly helped us along the way, suddenly require our help. Tasks that were once easy for them become labored or fall to the wayside, and we are taken back by the loss of their abilities.
Schedules, repetition, and choices are the greatest tools in our arsenal. Visible daily schedules, with pictures if needed, help our seniors to see and know what each day will entail. Repeating steps during the day can help to fill in the missing gap in their memory. Also, no one wants to feel useless or without say in their life. So, offering choices can help the senior feel that they are in charge of making some decisions i.e.: would you like soup or a sandwich for lunch, do you want to wear this pink shirt or this blue one?
As our parents continue to grow older and personal cleanliness becomes a problem, remember it was they who walked us through potty training and who bathed the mud from our childhood antics, then re-cleaned the tub for the ump-teenth time. And when they lose their confidence after a fall, remember the numerous times they held us close after a tumble, then encouraged us to forge ahead. It was our parents who cheered us through the rough times as children and who allowed us to lean against them as adults. Help them feel safe and secure, and if either of you are uncomfortable tending to personal hygiene needs, hire a home health aide.
The best way to preserve someone’s dignity and privacy is to ask ourselves is would I be comfortable being treated this way.
CBHomeCare and our Family of Providers are happy to assist you with assessing your family’s needs and helping to provide the care necessary to help keep your loved one at home where they want to be. Please feel free to call us at 800-700-0008, and we will be happy to answer all of your questions. You can also click here to read about our services.