December 14, 2018
We’ve all seen helicopter parenting, especially when a kid goes off to college. The fact is, we may be guilty of hovering a tad too closely ourselves. Discovering that appropriate balance between providing help at home and overstepping our boundaries isn’t always easy.
And now, due to the added number of sandwich generationers providing both senior care for aging parents and care for children, we’re in danger of attaining an additional badge of overbearingness: that of a helicopter child. It’s common for adult children to find themselves slipping into a role reversal with their elderly parents, with the very best of intentions of course; naturally, we would like to keep our loved ones safe and secure. Nevertheless, this could easily lead senior loved ones to feel indignant, upset, or possibly aggravated at their new loss of control.
If you think you’re infringing upon your aging parent’s rights and sense of self-worth and control, here is insight on how to come in for a landing, and resolve to step in only when entirely necessary.
Talk about objectives. Engage your senior parent in a conversation about aging goals, and how she would like you to assist in achieving those goals. For instance, if the senior were to develop dementia, would the preference be to relocate into a dementia care facility, or have help at home in St. Charles or a nearby area? In the event that the senior were to fall, requiring an operation or rehabilitation, how would she imagine her healing experience? Would she be happier receiving help with personal care tasks, including bathing and using the toilet, from you or from a trained caregiver?
Speak up when necessary. When safety is compromised, it’s vital to step in, keeping a respectful, collaborative frame of mind. The goal is to make sure the senior maintains as much self-sufficiency as possible. If she’s unwilling to accept assistance or even to make sensible choices, such as making use of a walker when needed to prevent a fall, it may be useful to enlist the help of her physician or a geriatric care manager to offer strategies.
Otherwise, step back. When you want to manage conditions that are not affecting the senior’s health or safety, and she’s cognitively still capable of making her own choices, it’s advisable to let those worries go. “A child should be sensitive to a parent’s need for self-determination and maintaining self-identity,” shares Barry Jacobs, clinical psychologist and author of The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers: Looking After Yourself and Your Family While Helping Aging Parents.
For expert senior home care in St. Charles and the surrounding communities, call Continuum at (314) 863-9912 or (636) 861-3336. Our customized home care services are always geared towards ensuring as much independence as is feasible for senior loved ones, allowing family caregivers the opportunity to step back and allow their parents the freedom that they need while remaining safe and secure.