Stop Denying Your Parent’s Inevitable Changes

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Our parents are amazing. They are the template upon which we model ourselves. We always want to be as strong as dad or as skilled as mom.

When we see our parents every day, we don’t notice subtle changes. Mom burns dinner more often. Dad decides to shut down his shop in the garage and store his car there. Are you denying your parents’ inevitable changes?

What is denial?

It’s easy to slip into a state of denial. Denial includes refusing to recognize a stressful situation, avoiding facing facts, and minimizing consequences.

Denial has its uses. “Being in denial gives your mind the opportunity to unconsciously absorb shocking or distressing information at a pace that won’t send you into a psychological tailspin,” according to the Mayo Clinic. 

The problem with denying your parents’ changes is that while you’re busy ignoring the problem, it’s getting worse. Dad may wreck the car. Mom may fall down. They may become ill.

How to Move Past Denial

To move past denial, the Mayo Clinic recommends these strategies:

  • Examine what you fear.
  • Think about the potential negative consequences of doing little or nothing.
  • Express your fears and emotions.
  • Try to identify irrational beliefs about your situation.
  • Write about your experience in a journal or other personal account.
  • Confide in a trusted friend or loved one.
  • Participate in a support group. Caregiver support groups are especially helpful.

These tips are just as valid if your parents are in denial, too.

5 Steps to Take Action After Denial

Once you’ve examined your parents’ situation, your next step is to take action. Experts recommend that adult children or caregivers don’t wait for a fall or illness to assess your parents, because that may be too late.

  1. Factually and objectively assess your parents’ situation. “Is It Time to Have that Talk?” gives examples of situations that require immediate action. AARP also has an excellent assessment checklist that considers multiple factors.
  2. Communicate your concerns to your loved one. Ask them if you can take them to their next doctor’s appointment, and talk to the doctor. Contact the doctor’s office beforehand to inform them you are going to take a more active part in your parent’s caregiving, so the doctor will be prepared to devote more time.
  3. Help your parent plan. You won’t be able to do much without a medical release form. Several critical documents will help you work with them to plan for the future.
  4. Ask siblings, friends, and experts. Search the internet. Find out how best to help your parent.
  5. Work with your parent to make a decision. Does your parent need more help at home? Is it time for them to downsize and move to a senior living community that is safer for older people? Do they need help with activities of daily living, such as dressing, cooking, or bathing?

Repeat these 5 steps again and again as your parent ages. For example, if your parent may be fine with some modifications to their home and Meals on Wheels delivered. However, if they develop pneumonia during the winter, they may need additional assessment and action.

We Can Help

Assisted Living communities are designed to maximize the independence of people who require help with activities of daily living. The Arbors Assisted Living provides private apartments, activities, meals, emergency response system, transportation and more to ensure your parent’s health, happiness and personal growth. If you’d like more information about Assisted Living, contact us.

 

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    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

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