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Sooner or later, our parents will need our support in almost every aspect of their lives. With age, our parents inevitably need their children’s input in their life decisions.
As challenging as it may sound, it’s the circle of life.
It all starts with caring. How did our aging parents help us grow up? How did they put aside their wants and needs for our own? This is the gracious mindset to have now that the roles are reversed.
When the haze of age begins to cloud our parents’ decisions, knowing how to help them without being intrusive, making them feel useless, and maintaining as much autonomy as possible is essential.
Here are some ways to help with the process.
How to help our parents without being invasive
Sometimes it’s hard not to get involved or state your opinion when it comes to a loved one’s needs. But unsolicited advice isn’t always the most welcomed and sometimes can be seen as intrusive.
Aging Care suggests a “perception of parent-child role reversal” and having a middle-man to stay neutral. Although the source above doesn’t think advice should be given unless it’s asked for – should the recommendation be a must, we agree that it’s a good idea to have someone outside of you two keep the points aloof.
Just like in our daily mom lives, people can recommend or suggest ideas for our child’s care, but it’s up to us to actually go through with them.
How not to make them feel useless
Make sure you choose your words correctly when guiding your loved one’s decision-making.
Yes, they’re older and may need more time to process the information being presented, but that doesn’t mean they’re incapable of comprehending what’s best for them.
Being impatient in these decision-making situations can make them feel useless, which is a huge no-no for our aging parents. In any case, just have extra patience with your elder – it’ll make a whole difference.
How to maintain as much autonomy as possible
The bottom line is their lives are their own. Help them understand that, yes, they’re capable of doing what they must do independently, but highlight that their safety should always come first.
Remember when we were teenagers: we wanted it our way or the highway – it’s a similar situation, except remember, the roles have now reversed.