Caring for aging parents is never easy. But, there comes a time in the lives of adult children and their parents when it dawns on them that they might have to step in and lend a helping hand to his or her elderly parents. They will need to decide when to begin having a more active role in their parent’s lives, not as their child but as their caregiver. For most families, parent support seems to come as a shock.
It’s strange because we all see reports on television or read about the transition that we will go through when our parents become the dependent one and the adult child becomes the head of the relationship. And the hardest part of that transition may be the first time you have to step in and stage an intervention because there is an area of life your parent needs to let go of and you know they won’t want to.
So what are the signs that it’s time to step in and suggest or directly take action to make that change in your elderly parent’s lives?
When it comes to driving, your dad or mom’s doctor will be able to help by determining if your parent is physically able to drive any longer. When a senior citizen’s eyesight dims to where he or she cannot distinguish details in the distance or when depth perception is poor so they might not be able to judge where the intersection is or if they stop at the stoplight or in the middle of the intersection, the time is right for Grandpa or Grandma to give up the keys and let someone else do the driving.
The time to start the process of moving mom or dad out of their own home and into an assisted living facility may be trickier to determine. As with driving, our aging parent will mount every effort to appear to be competent to continue to live independently. That ability to live on our own, go where we want when we want to and take care of our own needs is so fundamental to who we are and to our self-esteem that this transition from living on his or her own to living where everything is done for them is certainly emotionally difficult.
So you as family members and as the caregiver for your parent need to watch for the signs that your parent’s ability to take care of the house and of themselves as they live independently has come. In the next post we will dig deeper into some of the symptoms that show there may need to be a change in our aging parent’s life.
You and Your Aging Parent: A Family Guide to Emotional, Social, Health, and Financial Problems
The Complete Eldercare Planner, Revised and Updated Edition: Where to Start, Which Questions to Ask, and How to Find Help