Everywhere you look these days, campaigns against bullying are popping up. We’re now a zero tolerance society when it comes to bullying, and a rough and tough ten-year-old can no longer get away with teasing and tormenting his classmates. But is it reasonable to consider that there could be another, less noticeable type of “senior abuse” taking place – that of reversing roles with aging parents in an attempt to parent them, thus overstepping certain boundaries? Our parents may make different choices than we would, and that is okay. We should respect their choices as often as we can, keeping safety in mind of course.
There’s a fine line between the helpfulness required in providing care for older adults, and trying to take over for them. And added into the mix are often unresolved issues from childhood that can resurface – feelings of resentment and bitterness that may find their way into an adult’s care taking decisions.
To illustrate, there are various areas of contention that often arise between senior parents and their grown children:
- Medical related decision making
- Planning for end of life
- Recommended safety modifications
- Knowing when to stop driving
- Managing finances
These tips can help diffuse sticky decision-making situations more respectfully and effectively:
- Try negotiating a safer alternative for a worry like driving, such as driving only in the daylight and only on short, local trips.
- Open a discussion with small changes to implement which may be less disturbing to seniors, such as removing throw rugs, adding no-slip strips to the bathtub, and moving cords away from walkways.
- Always be mindful of the senior’s wishes, and respect those as much as possible without compromising safety. In order to work most successfully together, be sure to ask for the senior’s input during discussions, and be careful not to speak down to him or her.
- Put yourself in the older adult’s shoes. How would you feel in a similar circumstance, and how would you want to be treated?
- However, don’t hesitate to contact a social worker or the senior’s physician if there are health or safety concerns.
And keep in mind that frequently, this type of serious discussion is often better received in the presence of a trusted medical professional or clergy member or through an objective third party. Need more tips for easing tough discussions so you don’t feel like you’re causing “senior abuse?” Contact Heaven at Home Senior Care at 866-381-0500, the experts in at home care in St. Louis and nearby communities. We’ll keep your senior loved ones safe, while allowing them to remain as independent as possible where they’re most comfortable – at home.