Parents Who Won’t Accept Help

Posted by on Feb 7, 2012 in Caregiving, Family Relationships, Sensitive Conversations | 0 comments

Originally published at www.thestar.com on September 3, 2010.

Seniors resist help at home

Susan Pigg, Living Reporter

More than half of seniors resist asking for help, even from their adult children, fearing it signals a neediness that could land them in a nursing home, a new study shows.

That fierce resistance is playing out in so many family squabbles — from the silent treatment to bitter turf wars between aging parents and their grown kids — that the home-care agency Home Instead Senior Care has just launched a series of online self-help videos, one of them focusing on communication.

“This is a big problem for family caregivers,” says Bruce Mahony, owner of Home Instead’s Toronto office. “If seniors admit they need help, they think their independence is in question. They worry about losing control of their affairs.”

Fifty-one per cent of 24,147 adult caregivers surveyed across Canada and the U.S. by Home Instead Senior Care from 2004 to 2009 say their aging relatives can be so reluctant to accept help, they fear for their safety. Some worry their elderly parents are forgetting to eat meals or take medications in a misguided bid to maintain their independence.

Others are managing to hobble along with considerable help from elderly partners who are getting sick struggling to keep up appearances that all is well, elder-care experts say.

But a big part of the problem is baby boomer children who feel the overwhelming need to parent their parents, says Mara Osis, co-founder of Calgary-based ElderWise Inc. which offers “family coaching” and advice via the book Your Aging Parents: How to Prepare, How to Cope.

“We stress that you are not your parents’ parent. You need to see each other as two adults of different generations trying to work out a problem,” says Osis.

The struggles can be even more complicated if the parent is suffering from early dementia and feels confused and threatened by any changes or in-home help from strangers.

“Boomers are used to being very much in control of everything in their lives and being able to effect change, so when they see that they are getting push back from their parents, it’s an unfamiliar role.

“Sometimes the adult child creates their own problems by saying, ‘I’m just going to fix mom and dad and their situation because the solution is very simple from my point of view.’ ”

Read the complete article 

 

 

Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *