Could You and Your Siblings Be Helicopter Children?

Tip to help find the balance between caring and overstepping boundaries.

We’ve all known helicopter parents, particularly when a daughter or son leaves for college. In fact, we could be guilty of hovering too closely ourselves. Discovering that perfect harmony between caring and overstepping our boundaries is not very easy.

And now, with the additional number of sandwich generationers providing care for both aging parents and children, we’re in danger of earning another badge of overbearingness: that of a helicopter child. It’s quite common for adult children to find themselves slipping into a role reversal in regard to their aging parents, with the best of intentions, of course; naturally, we would like to keep our family members safe and secure. However, this can lead senior loved ones to feel indignant, upset, or maybe annoyed at their newfound lack of control.

If you think you are infringing on your aging parent’s rights and sense of self-worth and control, here’s insight on how to come in for a landing, and determine to step in only when completely necessary.

Speak about objectives. Engage the senior in a dialogue about aging expectations, and exactly how she would prefer you to assist in obtaining those goals. For example, in the event the senior were to be diagnosed with dementia, would the personal preference be to go into an assisted living facility, or stay at home with assistance? In the event that the senior were to fall, necessitating surgery or rehabilitation, how would she envision her recuperation experience? Would she be happier getting help with personal care tasks, including bathing and using the toilet, from you or from a trained caregiver?

Speak up when necessary. When safety is jeopardized, it’s vital to step in, keeping a respectful frame of mind. The objective is to ensure the senior sustains as much self-sufficiency as possible. If she’s hesitant to accept assistance or even make prudent choices, such as taking advantage of a walker when necessary to prevent a fall, it may be helpful to engage the help of her doctor or a geriatric care manager to provide suggestions.

Otherwise, step back. When you are trying to manage conditions that are not impacting the senior’s health or safety, and she is cognitively still capable of making her own decisions, it is advisable to let those concerns go. “A child should be sensitive to a parent’s need for self-determination and maintaining self-identity,” shares Barry Jacobs, clinical psychologist and author of The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers: Looking After Yourself and Your Family While Helping Aging Parents.

Call Heaven at Home Senior Care at (866) 381-0500 or contact us online for information on our home care in University Park and the surrounding areas. We provide expert senior care assistance, which is always aimed at ensuring as much independence as possible for aging parents, enabling family caregivers time to step back and grant their parents the freedom they need while remaining safe.