July 12, 2021 by Dean Bellefeuille

family caregiver talking with senior loved one

At Home Independent Living, providing senior care in Memphis, NY and nearby areas, understands that when caring for parents, it is not always an easy task to understand what our role as adult children must be. We would like what is best for them, however if we’re not very careful, it is possible to overstep our boundaries and find ourselves trying to parent our parents. Our own emotions may come out in unintended ways when communicating with aging parents too.

This is also true when safety is an issue. There is a thin line to walk between ensuring senior parents are safe, and supporting the independent way of living they want and deserve. All things considered, it was not that long ago when our parents were meeting not just all their own needs, but ours as well. The transition from caregiver to care recipient is generally frustrating and painful for seniors.

Keeping this in mind, there are particular elements of independent life that a senior may now be lacking. And in case we aren’t careful in the way we approach these losses when communicating with aging parents, it can trigger hurt feelings, arguments, and fractured relationships.

As an example, one facet of senior independence that is often jeopardized is in others stepping in to take over tasks that could now be a little more difficult and take a bit longer for a mature adult to perform. Even though intentions are certainly the best, it’s actually harmful to a senior’s self-worth and self-esteem. A better approach is always to allow a great amount of extra time, and to only offer assistance when truly necessary.

Yet the most significant indicator of freedom is the capability to drive, to go wherever and whenever we please. When driving is no longer safe for an older adult, it’s vital to approach the topic with empathy and tact. Neuropsychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez explains that too often, adult children lose patience with their older parents, leading to hurtful comments that can be truly traumatic.

He recommends avoiding phrases such as, “You’re not allowed to drive anymore!” It really is much kinder and much more effective to provide elderly people with choices, and also to engage them in brainstorming a potential alternative. An example of this might be, “I’m sure it’s getting harder for you to see clearly now, which must ensure it is very hard to operate a vehicle. Let’s talk about some options that will enable you to go wherever you want safely.”

Together, then you’re able to agree to a plan. When considering choices, keep in mind that At Home Independent Living, the top provider of senior care in Memphis, NY and nearby areas, is available for safe transportation and accompaniment for seniors. Our services are available according to each senior’s wishes and timeframe, whether that means a regular lunch date with a friend, medical or salon visits, attending religious services, or simply just a Sunday afternoon drive to get away from home and enjoy the scenery. Contact us at (315) 579-HOME (4663) for details.