Campaigns against bullying are everywhere these days. We’re now a zero tolerance society when it comes to bullying, and a rough and tough ten-year-old can no longer get away with teasing and tormenting his classmates. But perhaps there’s some other, less apparent sort of bullying occurring – that of trying to play the parent to our aging parents, thus overstepping some unwritten boundaries into a form of senior abuse? It shouldn’t matter that our parents’ choices may be different than ours, because as adult individuals, we should respect their choices as much as is safely possible.
There’s a fine line between the helpfulness required in providing care for older adults, and senior abuse in the form of bullying. And added in are often unsettled issues from childhood that can resurface – feelings of bitterness and resentment that may find their way into an adult’s caretaking decisions.
For example, there are several main areas of contention that often arise between older adults and their grown children:
- When to stop driving
- How to manage finances
- Recommended safety modifications
- Medical decisions
- Planning for end of life
These tips can help diffuse difficult situations more effectively and respectfully and avoid situations that might lead to senior abuse:
- Try negotiating a safe alternative for an issue such as driving, like reducing driving time to short, local trips taken during daylight hours only.
- Start with small suggestions that may be more tolerable to seniors, such as adding no-slip strips to the bathtub, moving cords away from walkways or taping down rugs.
- Keep in mind that your parents’ wishes should be respected as much as possible as long as safety is not compromised. Ask for their input without speaking down to them, and you’re more likely to work together for a successful outcome.
- Put yourself in the senior’s shoes. How would you feel in a similar circumstance, and how would you want to be treated?
- It is important to remember, if there are safety or health concerns, don’t hesitate to contact a social worker or the senior’s physician for help.
And keep in mind that sometimes, intense discussions such as these are often better received through an objective third party or in the presence of a trusted medical professional or clergy member. Need more tips for easing tough discussions with seniors? Contact Midnight Sun Home Care at (907) 677-7890 for trusted Anchorage senior care assistance that can help keep your aging loved ones safe, while allowing them to remain as independent as possible where they’re most comfortable – at home.