From the time we’re children through adulthood, our parents urge us to listen to them. They are older, wiser, and full of information. Yet, somehow once they are elderly we stop listening. We tend to believe we know what is right for them or what decisions need made. You may not even know you are doing it, blocking out what your parent is saying because you have too much on your mind. Too many times, our elderly end up depressed because decisions were made about their life for them. It is time to stop and listen to what your aging parents are saying.
Even if a plan had been agreed on in the past for your parent’s post-retirement years, you should still address their comfort and happiness in their living and social situations periodically. If a parent planned on relocating to a facility in the past, they may have changed their mind and want to stay home. Talk through all of the options thoroughly before making decisions, consider every last detail. Would mom or dad do better at home with a caregiver or at a facility in assisted living? What are their needs, how social are they? Do not make any of these decision solely based on finances because even though that can be a big factor, it does not guarantee that decision provides day to day happiness.
If you parent is asking for help listen closely to what they are saying. Do they need physical help, or emotional? What degree of help are they looking for? Read between the lines if need be. If they are not asking for help and you are worried for their safety, look for warning signs such as bruises from a fall, expired food in the refrigerator, or mismanagement of medications. Spark a non-judgmental conversation with no yelling or condescending behavior. Your parents may be getting older but they are still your parents. It may be time for them to have home care, move to a facility or even move in with you, but never stop listening.
At any age we crave understanding and comfort from others, so do not let your elderly loved one go unheard.
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