Don't Wait for Senior Parents to Ask Adult Children for Help
By Diana R Beam
A recent visit with Mom and Dad left you feeling something just isn't right.
Mom was always a fashionista with every hair in place, but she looked like she'd worn the same clothes for several days. She used to make sure your dad never sported a five o'clock shadow - and it was definitely well past nine o'clock showing on his face. They both seemed in good humor but even the meal wasn't up to Mom's usual standards. So what's going on?
As adult children of aging parents, the sandwich generation is coming to grips with the changes brought on by age in loved ones. It's difficult to accept that the people who took care of them while growing up are becoming less able to take care of themselves.
Parents want to maintain their independence and children might not want to overstep boundaries thinking they will be seen as disrespectful. So both adult children and parents refrain from talking about it. However, it's obvious that Mom and Dad need help. Adult children should not wait to bring up the conversation because there is a good chance neither parent will ever say they need help in any way.
No matter how old they get, many parents still see them as children and the traditional relationship is that parents take care of the children. For years they have been providing to the family's needs. So even as children move away and into adulthood taking care of their own families, parents continue to worry and want to help guide and protect them.
So when parents find they cannot do everything, they don't see it as appropriate to ask for help from their children. It is more acceptable to hire a landscaping service and a handyman so they will hire out those chores rather than ask an adult child to help.
Not only might it seem inappropriate to ask for help, it could also be embarrassing. After years getting cards about being "super mom" and "dad, my hero," parents may think they are letting down their children and diminishing how their children see them - and love them.
Mom might be embarrassed to admit how exerting daily showering and hygiene is for her. She might not want to say that shopping for new underwear means she has to get in the car and she's afraid to drive on busy streets.
Dad might not want to admit he can't see to fix things around the house. He might be afraid to get on top of a ladder to clean gutters because he's been having dizzy spells.
Adult children of aging parents have to respectfully offer to help without waiting to be asked. Ask Mom to ride along on a shopping trip where she can pick up the underclothes that she and Dad need. Instead of a present, give gifts of time working on the house or in the yard can make a real difference.
Keeping In Touch Solutions founder, Diana Beam, offers a helping hand through a daily phone call to senior citizens to make sure they are taking care of their daily critical needs. When something is amiss, caregivers are notified. Caregivers get some peace of mind knowing that even if they can't connect every day, someone is "Keeping in Touch." Learn more at http://www.KeepinginTouchSolutions.com.