Sheri Samotin, President
LifeBridge Solutions, LLC
999 Vanderbilt Beach Road
Naples, Florida 34108
Taking Charge Without Taking Over: Five Tips For Helping Your Aging Parent
Whether you are teaching your young daughter how to knit, or helping your aging mother balance her checkbook, how do you take charge without taking over? 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.
It was probably hard enough for your mom to agree to let you help her pay her bills and balance her checkbook. And even once she agreed, it wouldn’t be surprising if she told you that she didn’t know why you were insisting on helping her since she is perfectly capable of doing it herself. 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?
Sometimes, no matter how you approach the situation, you’ll find yourself in a confrontation with your Mom or Dad over how to best care for them. At these times, you and your parent might find it helpful to talk with an objective third party such as a family transition coach who can shed new light on the situation. Your job as your parent’s caregiver is to keep them safe, comfortable, and happy. As long as you keep that in perspective you should have no trouble taking charge without taking over.
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