We are having a difficult time dealing with our parents whose health is rapidly failing. They refuse to discuss moving and are shutting us out. How should we approach them about these issues?
Why is anyone surprised that when a person refuses to consider moving out of their home. Especially when the move is to a nursing home – a term that my well be synonymous with the notion of end of life. Most children who are concerned about their parents make the mistake of thinking that they can rationally debate the issue and have parents to see the errors of their ways. Some parents are able to deal with it, though most are not. Put yourself in their shoes. A home represents everything in life – a lifetime of hard work; independence, symbolic and actual; and pride of being in control of their own lives. Further, the process of aging is slow. Changes that outsiders can spot quickly are something that the aging elderly will not feel or notice. It is like watching your own children grow. Each day they grow, but those who see the children from time to time will notice the growth while the parents may not. Similarly, those who are aging may not see the deficits the same way others do and when the deficits are pointed out they may dismiss it as being worries not based in reality. Further, remember, as a child your parents raised you and always have had the advantage of experience over you. So, when they guided you all their lives why do you think they will view you any different than the snotty nosed kid who knew little when you were young any differently today? The better way is to encourage your parents to seek advise on how to protect their assets and learn how to avoid nursing home stay. Keeping mom and Dad safe at home.This is likely their goal. And they are likely to listen to outsiders more than someone from their children with whom they have many contacts in many different contexts, most of them being in the context of a wise parent guiding a child through life. Don’t play the role of a teacher or someone who knows more than mom or dad, be the child the parent loves and cherishes – and encourage the parent to seek assistance to address concerns they can and likely do identify with. Have them speak to their physician or a qualified professional, including an elder law attorney.