The Caregiversí Journey
Denial never fixed anything
Friday, October 4th, 2013
Issue 40, Volume 17.
father insists that he doesnít need help with the bills cluttering his desk.
These and other similar occurrences might indicate that your folks need help but are in denial.
Denial is one of our most common defense mechanisms. Older people are scared of losing their health and memory and, as a result, losing their independence. So they deny the obvious.
"Thereís something about admitting that you canít do something anymore thatís very difficult," says the owner of a San Diego homecare company. "So many people who lived through WWII and the
Great Depression learned to do everything for themselves;
now, itís a measure of their self-esteem. Some older people donít understand that they donít have to do everything themselves, that others can help."
Instead of admitting they no longer can do it all alone, they hide from the truth. Meanwhile, their adult children, who are not eager to turn their own world upside down, easily accept the false bravado until thereís a crisis.
Hiring someone to help out for even a few hours a week is a great first step. The professional might pitch in with
cooking and cleaning, keep in touch with the medical team,fill prescriptions or help motivate your folks to get out of the house.
When you discuss the situation with your parents, be compassionate. Express your concern rather than give them with a diagnosis. Tell them youíre worried or would feel better ifÖ (you fill in the blank).
Arguing or bullying wonít help them face facts. Encourage them to share their perspective; donít dictate.
If theyíre not eating properly, you might offer to phone Meals-on-Wheels so they donít have to cook as often. Or you
might suggest that a professional caregiver could come by a few hours a week to help them with the chores they donít like to do.
The more control you give your parents, the more cooperative they might be.
If you donít get anywhere, you might hire a geriatric care manager to assess and monitor the situation.
Unfortunately, your authority is limited. Your parents are adults and youíll always be their child. They have the legal
right to make bad decisions unless you seek a legal conservatorship, an expensive process that could ruin your relationship.
Short of that, you can only offer your compassion and help,
then stand by until theyíre ready to accept the situation and change it.
Sponsored by Right at Home, In-Home Care & Assistance, www.rahtemecula.com, (951) 506-9628, firstname.lastname@example.org; www.rahnc.com, (760) 690-1147, email@example.com. Contact Marsha Kay Seff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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