Heaven protect children who take the car keys from parents, or “seize” the checkbook. How dare they! Elders are proud of personal independence achieved in life, but many Seniors lose the ability to make wise choices during the aging process. Often roles are reversed, a child becomes a parent and vice versa. Fears of the unknown arise…self-assurance wanes and emotions are concealed.

Elder parents spend decades making wise choices with self-confidence. As memories fade, children will see parents making imprudent decisions: circumventing the use of assistive devices to prevent falls; remaining in unsafe environments; avoiding health checkups; snacking instead of having nutritious meals; driving alone so others need not be bothered; jotting financial information on scraps of paper or sharing social security/Medicare information with strangers.

Timing is everything

How do children remain composed and help parents maintain dignity while making life changing suggestions? Timing is everything. A time when both child and parent are having a good day is best. Stress on either side will not result in factual statements. Parents are more receptive to suggestions (yes, suggestions, not demands) when an open relationship exists. Positive support of family and friends is helpful. Involve others who recognize identical concerns. When visiting with parents, children may learn both parties have been worrying about identical matters.

Choose battles wisely

Start slow and remain persistent. Ask questions…is getting in the shower difficult; are groceries being delivered; what is the reluctance to wear a life alert? Open the discussion and listen to parent’s reasonings. Fear and anxiety increase with age. Many years have been spent acquiring strengths and the aging process slowly diminishes physical, mental, and social abilities in varying degrees.

Allow parents to be a part of decisions

Some parents are more receptive to an approach from children who state they are burdened with worry or unable to respond to crises in a timely manner. Use direct statements: “I feel…”; “I worry”; “what if.” Allow the parent to be a part of the decision. If a parent is truly unsafe and remains stubborn, enlist the help of their physician. The older generation, especially women, will listen to the advice of a professional before their own .

Bridge to Better Living recognizes the importance of starting “the conversation” early. Consultants understand the challenges and the opportunities existing when working with both children and parents. Bridge to Better Living removes the stress and worry of finding appropriate Independent, Assisted, Memory Assisted, and Long-Term Care. Choose Bridge to Better Living when considering a transition to Senior Living. Bridge to Better Living is a best first choice.