Helping elderly parents accept their limitations

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2022 | Uncategorized

Adult children of elderly parents living in the Olympia area can face much resistance when it comes time to help their parents transition to supervised living situations. It is hard for individuals of any age to realize that they can no longer do the things they must do in order to remain living independently.

Whether those things involve shoveling a light dusting of snow from the walk in the winter or bathing and dressing, facing their own limitations is never easy.

What can adult children do to help ease their parents’ transition?

The first and foremost concept to keep in mind is that all people have the right to self-determination. Unless their behaviors and living situations present a danger to themselves or others, you cannot force them into a different living arrangement. This is true whether it would make your life easier or simplify their own.

With that established, below are some tips to help you convince your elderly parents to move to an assisted living community or another living situation.

Assess their motivations

Maybe have a beloved pet they refuse to re-home. Yet they are unable to walk this pet, bathe it or get it to the veterinarian’s office for routine care and annual shots. Arranging for someone to walk, bathe and provide transportation to the vet’s could alleviate the problem – for now, at least.

Pick your battles

Any issue that doesn’t involve your parents’ safety should take a back seat right now. Yes, they probably should get more exercise, eat better and forgo alcohol or cigarettes. What you need to keep the focus on is their imminent safety. The rest is extraneous and gets filtered out.

Remember that while the roles may seem reversed, your parents are still adults

Infantilizing adults strips them of both their dignity and their autonomy. Remember, some of these senior citizens have fought foreign wars, run companies and taught classrooms of students. Even if their greatest responsibility was pushing a broom as a janitor, they did it to earn money to support your family. They deserve your respect.

In the most extreme cases where dementia has progressed and their safety is jeopardized, you may need some legal guidance to protect your parents from harm.