How to Help Your Parents Age Gracefully
By Debbie Ginsberg President of Uncluttered Domain Inc. BBB, NASMM certified, NAPO
As our parents age, their physical and mental needs begin to change. To help parents cope with their transitions, it is highly recommended that the adult child begin an open dialogue with their parents when they are in their 40’s and their parents in their 70’s. By allocating uninterrupted time, an adult child has the opportunity to broach the very necessary discussion with their parents by asking their parents how they would like to live as they age. The “What if” scenario can be played out in a calm and caring manner well before an emergency arises. Speaking about the future before the future arrives allows the senior to take part in the decision making process about their own plans. Most people unfortunately wait until a sudden illness or accident occurs and at that point too often the senior parent finds themselves losing control of their own destiny.
I can’t tell you how many clients call me saying they don’t know how or where to begin to speak to their parents on this subject matter. Adult children anticipate that their parents will become defensive or will be unresponsive or will want to avoid this necessary conversation completely. It’s all understandable when you think about it, how does the adult child begin to take on the parenting role of their own parent?
One of the keys to a successful conversation is learning how to listen when your parents speak. What are your parents concerns? Are you accepting their concerns with sincerity or are you the one who is avoiding the inevitable? Perhaps your parents have already broached the subject and are looking for you to provide advice.
You have to try and walk in your parents’ shoes to fully understand how they are feeling. Do you sense they are frustrated due to loss of control of their own lives? Are they getting too focused on paying bills and stuck on maintaining their homes rather than getting out and socializing? What’s really going on? Too often adult children are too busy with their lives to recognize hints in a stage of life change in their parent.
Showing sincerity in your concern for your parents needs helps build the very important trust-based relationship between the senior parent and the adult child. Perhaps the time has come for your parent to downsize and move to a supervised residence. To address these issues and their solutions I recommend reading my free e-book “Moving Elderly Parents.”
Throughout the process it is important to remember that your parents’ needs are the focus, not yours. This may seem very simple but when family members are bogged down by their own personal responsibilities or they do not live close by, this can create extra tension and the children of seniors may be persuaded to choose the easiest option that best serves their own personal needs, not those of their senior parents. When decisions about where your parents should age are made under such constraints, the senior parent’s needs are not effectively addressed. When such a situation arises, I recommend that my clients consider our Senior Concierge Services.
Senior Concierge Services were created to help guide family members and their senior parents as they navigate through the process of aging in their homes by acting as a trusted liaison that works to oversee and implement all the necessary changes to a senior’s home and lifestyle. Senior Concierge Services helps family members who do not live close to their parents by coordinating the efforts and supervising all the work done by vendors to help maintain a senior’s independence. Hallways and rooms are cleared and organized to make room for the appropriate installs, repairs, and maintenance needed to make aging at home more comfortable. Mail management has also become an important part of our service. Seniors are bombarded with unnecessary mail, but there is so much mail to absorb is becomes overwhelming to the point that bills are overlooked and not paid on time.
The vendors work is monitored by our own site team and is supervised until completion. By being the eyes and ears of the family and by being on site often, we see subtle changes occurring in the seniors or recognize situations that need immediate attention. Therefore, communication is constant between the family members and team members so adult children are kept in the loop but are not left alone with the sole responsibility of overseeing the work being done. Our goal is to keep your senior parents free from harm.
This service is groundbreaking and has led to many successful and stress-free age-in-place transitions, eliminating the tension that often arises between family members.
Helping a senior through the aging process and implementing the necessary changes in a senior’s home or lifestyle can be extremely overwhelming and consuming, try to remember that not only are you honoring your parents in the greatest way possible by helping them live their lives fully, you are giving them the right to fulfill their legacy.
For more information on Senior Concierge Services please visit www.UnclutteredDomain.com. For questions or comments please feel free to email Debbie Ginsberg directly at Debbie@UnclutteredDomain.com.