Safety vs. Independence for Senior Parents
It’s a disagreement that develops for a number of families: senior parents adamantly like to age in place in their own homes, while their relatives are worried about their safety. And there’s a debate to be made in both scenarios. Seniors, especially those who live alone, confront many different risks: falls that could bring about serious injury, challenges in preserving way of life to which they’ve become accustomed as aging advances, even a susceptibility to fraud artists. Yet independence for senior parents is vital to self-worth, regardless of age.
Defining a balance that suits the requirements of both sides may very well be difficult, but there are several important factors to bear in mind that will help.
- Let go of ageism. While there is certainly credibility to worries over health and safety for aging parents at home, particularly if they live alone, the other side of the equation is our perception of aging. Pioneer Network President/CEO Penny Cook explains, “Our negative perception helps marginalize older adults. They become ‘less than’ because that helps us cope and then we take on the parental model.” A change in this reasoning permits us to retain the respect for seniors which they so rightly deserve, and to recognize how important it can be for them to continue being as independent as possible through the course of aging.
- Know their rights. Legally, unless seniors are contending with cognitive issues, they continue to have the legal right to make decisions independently – whether or not the choices made are not the ones we would have preferred for them. Attorney Barbara Cashman explains, “Even if I decide to give my money away, a judge could say that it’s my money and my choice what to do with it.”
- Communication is important. As with any issue, calm, reasonable discussions are probably the best solution in diffusing difficult circumstances and coming to an answer that works for everybody. Sit down with your parent and discuss your worries, but prepare yourself to listen with an open mind to his / her thoughts and views. Keep in mind that a resolution may not be arrived at in a single conversation; use a preliminary discussion as a launching point, and agree to revisit the issue periodically to reevaluate.
Most especially, be aware that there is a viable alternative: the expert provider of home care assistance in Pleasanton & surrounding areas: Hired Hands Homecare. We can assist in many different ways to enhance safety, offering loved ones peace of mind, while strengthening your loved one to maintain independence, making their own choices and decisions within the comfort and familiarity of home. See our full service area here and then contact us for an in-home consultation to find out more.