Let’s face it! When our parents add more years to their age, we have a lot of considerations to ponder on before plunging into a heart-to-heart conversation with them. Communication is never an impulsive reaction just because you are shaken up in your current circumstance. The communication-generation gap gets even more difficult as compared to your teenage years. In as much as you love them dearly, they tend to be awfully stubborn to see your viewpoints because they are so fixated with how they dealt it in their past. More so, they are unwilling to cooperate and decide with you. They are threatened and see you as an antagonist who steals their power of control and independence over their lives.
Aside from the fact that they have already acquired such oversensitivity and sentimentality for every word that you say, the escalating visible frailties of our aging parents is an hourglass that gives us a nudge that we need to do it anyway. No matter how you wish you can delay them or if possible, avoid them and let other people talk those out for you – you really need to take time and heartfelt effort as their child and for heaven’s sake, blurt it out!
1. “You are moving with us.”
After being enraged seeing bruises on them, you just learned that your parents just had an accident from falling down the stairs. They forgot to lock the house before going to sleep and you were grateful that the sheriff managed to check their full-lighted porch after assisting your neighbor’s complain about the bandit who rummaged their house. These are the scenarios that would always keep you awake at night and worried about their health and safety. It can get worse because there are times that they tend to keep these information from you. Requesting them to move in to your place allows you to have peace of mind and that; they are properly taken care of. However, you can also trample their need to be in their own space – which has been their comfort zones through the years.
2. “I need to get the car keys from you.”
Your parents’ deteriorating sight can lead them to further accidents and even driving violations. Perhaps, they feel that it is their time to explore the city or to meet their old friends but hearing you say this statement will surely create a smirk on their faces. Driving heightens their sense of independence. Their knowledge of having an unwanted driver or chaperone can spoil their most awaited day’s out. They overestimate their safety just to maintain the status quo that they are perfectly able to go to places on their own. They would rather risk their security and enjoy their independence than take heed of your restrictions.
3. “You cannot purchase that.”
Aging parents tend to be gullible to all infomercials they see in Home TV Shopping or to the demo of a convincing promodizer in the malls. They are so enthused buying all the sale items in the shopping catalogues. They go gaga trying new items or technology regardless if they really need it. Unless you say this statement, they will continue splurging their money away and you will surely be bound to go penniless for the next months.
4. “You need to stop drinking and/or smoking.”
It is totally insane that your parents still keep up with their drinking and smoking habits despite of their deteriorating health. They are unmindful of the effects of these habits that can lead to hypertension, diabetes, and ulcers among others. On the other hand, your parents are used to these habit-antics for years – unaware that they gradually increase in consumption each day. They might strongly claim that they feel a lot better after being stressed from you. They need to understand how these habits are getting the best of their health.
5. “I will be handling your finances from now on.”
Your parents’ expenses can go out of hand notwithstanding the medicines, vitamins and foods that they need to take in daily. You may even discover that your parents are addicted to the excitement of earning easy money from gambling, casinos or lotteries. It may even go overboard that you are already spending on the money that is supposedly for your kids. Managing their money doesn’t mean that you are giving them no control of what they have saved through the years but rather allows you to efficiently apply a better budget strategy on their savings so they can cope well with their swelling expenditures and place top priorities first on your list.
6. “We need to go to your doctor’s appointment.”
Just like what you were when you were still a kid, you’d rather wish to vanish like your favorite cartoon hero when your mom calls you out for a dentist’s appointment – this is the same dreaded feeling that gets the best of them. They are terrified to know what is wrong to their health. They sometimes opt to desensitize themselves and blindly think that their health is perfectly okay. They are in sheer terror to know that their life can soon be controlled by a notorious ailment.
7. “The doctor said that you are badly-ill.”
In spite of how your parents seem to have a massive amount of energy and vigor during their yesteryears, we cannot deny the fact that they will soon be restricted by an illness. An illness means a lot to them as it completely takes away from their hands the authority to take care of themselves. They despise the thought of being dependent on others – especially now that this may not only involve time and effort from their children but also a certain cost to shed out from their pockets.
8. “Please stop feeling bad about yourself because of that past experience.”
Your parents just love to retell the stories from their past all over again. They would use every dull minute to engage everyone to listening to their stories. They are amused to see their grandchildren with eyes and mouths wide open as they tell stories during their younger years: how they fall in love with each other, how they manage to raise kids while struggling to make both ends meet, etc. Their memories will always be bittersweet. It would always be a combination of affirming memories and those they regret doing. They might even get stuck and magnify their regrets of what they were not able to do when they were younger which would surely bring them to tears. You need to reframe their perspectives that despite of those regrets and life’s difficulties they still manage to live a good life and be the best parents for you.
9. “We need to sell the house to keep up with the expenses.”
Their house means a lot to them as it captures a lot of memories and milestones of their lives. When the expenditures tend to go beyond you could possibly manage plus the fact that you and your other siblings have a mountain of bills to deal with, the last resort and saving option to take care of your parents’ expenses is to sell their asset – their house. It would be difficult to send the message across but if this is the only solution that could help them get by with their daily needs, then you have to muster the courage to discuss it with them.
10. “Mom didn’t make it in the operating room. She died last night.”
Among the most painful scenarios that can defeat your parent’s spirit and desire to live more years, is the fact that you need tell him that your mother lose the battle to live from an ailment or vis-à-vis, your father. Having a lifelong partner, a best friend and a companion throughout the years makes it more difficult to explain that this emotionally-charged experience is nothing but a normal pace of life. Breaking out this news is very crucial because an inappropriate word used may burden your only living parent towards his depression. Our aging parents may welcome our company differently but it is not enough to fill in to the void our mother has left from him. Reassuring him that you will always be there for him no matter what would surely paves this fear away.
11. “I don’t approve your girlfriend. I don’t want you to remarry.”
Our only living parent struggles again to find worth and meaning to the remaining days of his life. He might sulk in his room for days then sooner or later make himself more preoccupied with other things that can fill his time and make a worthwhile use of it. He becomes more vulnerable falling in love to another elderly woman who also lost a husband from an illness as they would both feel a certain kind of support from each other. They can talk endlessly about the lost without worrying if the listener gets tired of listening to the same old vicious stories over and over again. More so, the relationship is focused on companionship rather than sensuality. Arguments can be the usual type of reaction in the family since you and your siblings might feel that your father is trying to replace your mother so soon and that it is disrespectful of your father leaving all of you to grieve on your own.
12. “We need to transfer you to a nursing home.”
This is the most dreaded statement that our aging parents would like to hear from us especially if you have promised long before that you will never put your parents in a nursing home. It would surely stick on their minds and yet gives you additional trouble of spilling this out as you would entrap yourself to guilt and would leave your parents disappointed on you. They feel all alone without their children’s presence and love during their aging years. They imagine themselves that as soon as they get in to that institution, they are more obliged to follow rigid rules. They feel losing the comforts of his or her child’s home – that one thing that can somehow tolerate their momentary stubbornness. Being alienated to the institution is only half the crisis, interacting with strangers is another thing that your parents have to face alone.
These tension-filled statements may be so exhaustingly frustrating and tedious to discuss with our aging parents but we need to discuss these to them that we will be able to see their points of view. It does not mean that these statements are already close-ended and unchanged but we need to invite your parents to a discussion that would make both of you arrive at the best decision. You also need to empty your heart and mind in conversing with them so you’ll be able to understand where they are coming from. The goal is to involve them, understand their preferences and agree on a decision which is best and beneficial for them. Remember that when the time comes and tables are turned, you’ll also experience the same plight of your aging years and you don’t want to be treated heartlessly by your children. Your encompassing love and understanding would make them feel a lot better in facing this new and unfamiliar stage of their life.
This article is exclusively written by Artchee Mendoza for this site. Artchee also contributes article for www.partnersincare-nc.com which offers excellent Charlotte NC senior care services.