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When Roles Are Reversed – Caring For Aging Parents

aging parent

Caring for aging parents without seeming like an overbearing ‘helicopter’ child can be like walking a tightrope for adult children.

I read a recent article at theatlantic.com entitled, What Aging Parents Want From Their Kids. The biggest issue is that parents find there is a fine line between their kids’ caring and controlling.

In my experience that fine line exists for both parents and kids. So the tightrope-walking act is often going on for both parent and child. Role reversal can be distressing when the adult child makes every effort to help the parent who stubbornly resists help.

It is easy for the child to greatly overestimate the mental and physical decline of the aging parent. What I have been witness to in the aging parent scenario is parents resisting the notion of being considered incapable by their children often due to minor diminished capacity. When the diminished capacity is great, the resistance can also become more intense. Everyone is afraid of the worst while wanting the best.

A Preventative Suggestion

I always encourage families to attempt to come to some kind of agreement sooner rather than later. No one ever knows for certain if or when they will become mentally or physically incapable of caring for oneself. Also, it’s difficult if there is only one adult child who doesn’t live close enough to the parent to see to their needs on a regular basis.

Giving up one’s independence can be terrifying. No longer being able to drive oneself to the supermarket or church or to see friends can understandably make someone cranky. However, endangering their own lives as well as the lives of others must be taken into consideration. So, how do families make that decision before someone gets hurt?

If you are in the midst of a seemingly impossible aging parent scenario, see if you can shift the conversation to find out if there is a plan in place. If there are legal documents that your parent hasn’t shared with you, make an effort to find out. If there haven’t been plans made, perhaps you can help your parent take action before it’s too late. Find a good elder care attorney near you, one who will come to you if your parent is home bound, and schedule an appointment to discuss how they want to be cared for in the future.

Best-Case Scenarios

In the best-case scenarios most elderly parents tend to have their affairs in order before they get to the point where they can no longer make sound decisions, but not always. Even when they have a will in place, they often tend to overlook the likelihood of long-term care. Maybe they don’t want to be in a facility, but can they afford to have a caretaker come in if there is no family around?

An overview of the financial assets and looking into ways to supplement those assets can be instrumental in providing the quality of care every child wants for their parents.

Call The Elder & Disability Law Firm of Victoria L. Collier, PC for a free 15-minute telephone consultation to find out how we can help you and your aging parent.