Parenting Your Parents
So you are over 40 or over 50 and your children are getting order and more independent. You start to see freedom on the horizon. Something happens with one of your parents and all of a sudden you see the transition happen. Roles start to change your children no longer need the care but your parents do.
This can be a stressful process especially if you don’t have the strongest relationship with your parents. Dealing with a parent as they age can bring up unresolved feelings from a person’s childhood. Do your parents accept you as an adult if my values or lifestyle is different than theirs?
If you feel your parent is declining it’s important for you, a sibling or family friend to spend more time with your parent to assess whether they are still able to live independently, safely.
Here are some things to check for.
- Severe weigh loss – this is a sign that the parent may not be eating properly
- Physical limitations – maybe your parent is having issues walking or not able to climb stairs anymore
- Mood changes or changes in judgment – seem to be making decisions or acting uncharacteristic of their normal behavior
- Social changes – no longer going to social activities like normal
- Personal hygiene – noticeable issues of cleanliness
- Abnormal forgetfulness – are they missing appointments, getting lost or forgetting to pay bills
Once it has been determined there is an issue what can you do about it? Your parents may not agree there is an issue. Adult children and their parents are sometimes in denial that the parent is showing signs of not being able to live independently. What if they are driving and they shouldn’t be? What can you do about it?
You really have no legal action you can take unless they are no longer able to make their own decisions. Then, if you have a power of attorney, you can make decisions whether they agree or not. Make sure your family agrees so there aren’t any issues.
If your parent is still able think reasonably, the best course of action is to spend time with them talking about their choices. If they come to the decision themselves it will be less stress on anyone involved. Be patient, caring and as helpful as possible. Change is hard for people in their midlife and gets even harder as you advance into the later stages of your life.
I found a great article that goes into more detail on this subject.