If you’ve tried to take the car keys from your aging parent or have offered to help them with their finances, you may have experienced what many other adult children experience: resistance and frustration. Your parents resistance in probably pretty strong and then you may experience an even stronger sense of frustration.
As we grow into adulthood we live life primarily in the “gains” column. We progressively gain independence, we acquire assets, we gain skills, experiences, friends, children, grandchildren. We are in control. As we age, however, our lives begin to shift to the “loss” column: loss of health, loss of mobility, loss of authority, loss of friends and family members. Once we recognize that, it’s easier to understand why our aging parents may fight so hard to maintain control over what they have left. Although they may know they need help, their need for control is stronger than their ability to admit it.
So, what do you do? Listen. Listen to their concerns, their fears, their resistance, their anger. Try to imagine what it would feel like to have something you now take for granted suddenly taken away. Choose your words carefully. Compromise. Approach the conversation in a loving and empathetic manner. Allow your parent to be part of the solution and thereby maintain some control. It will be a lot less painful for you both.
Are you feeling overwhelmed about starting the conversation? Or if you had a run at it, did it go badly? If so, give me a call: I can help!