Helping Aging Parents

Are you facing a situation where your aging parents clearly need help of some sort? Perhaps they are resisting facing up to this reality because of the fear they will lose their independence?

Sheri Samotin the President,  of LifeBridge Solutions has written an excellent article entitled “Helping Aging Parents: Taking Charge Without Taking Over that appeared on the website AgingCare:

“As your parents age and need assistance with life’s tasks – anything from balancing a checkbook to dealing with insurance claims – its hard to know how to take charge, without taking over. How do you help your parent, without making them feel as if they’re losing their independence? How do you get the job done without condescending, or making them angry?
How many times have you found yourself “showing” someone how to do something by doing it for them? It’s human nature. But while it might make sense to show by doing when you are “teaching” someone younger or less familiar with a particular topic than you are, it usually leads to anger when you do this when you are “assisting” someone with a task that he previously has been perfectly capable of handling himself.”

“The truth is that acknowledging that you need help with the business of life is really, really hard for most seniors. If they come to the point where they need your help, they are confronted with their own limitations. And those limitations won’t “get better” in most cases. Deep down, your mom knows that this is the beginning of the end of her independence as she has come to know it.

So, how do you take charge without taking over?”

Sheri offers some excellent suggestions:

— Let them take the lead

— Ask what they need help with

— Be respectful

— Set up invisible safety nets

— Ensure their safety

Websites such as AARP and  AgingCare  provide very good resources on a variety of related topics: financial and legal matters, money management, Medicare, Medicaid and Medical,  fall management, loss of hearing, failing memory, home care, senior and assisted living, caregiving, caregiver support, and a host of other issues.

In addition, resources such as ElderHelper — a user-friendly web-based service — can assist in locating volunteers in your neighborhood to help with a variety of tasks such as shopping, entertaining, reading, making phone calls, writing letters, cleaning, cooking and gardening.

Another example is the commercial website  that offers to match your needs with the appropriate  services. Finally, there are a number of home care providers such as Homecare California  that offer a range of services from part-time to full-time care.   It is up to the reader to research such services carefully and make a determination of their suitability.

Note that Sukham does not endorse or actively recommend such services, and bear no liability in any way by making the reader aware that such services are available.

We recommend that you also browse through the section “Planning and Preparing for Life’s Transitions” for more information that could be useful to  you in this context.