Aging can be an unpredictable path. Seniors may start to experience a decline in physical or cognitive health. Due to the increasing limitations of elderly parents, adult children may impose constraints. When the well-being of parents is at stake, it’s time for family caregivers to show tough love.
How is tough love defined?
Tough love is a concept that is familiar to many. The phrase commonly applies to raising youth; however, seniors benefit, too, when adult children show restraint and allow elderly parents to accomplish certain activities independently. In the long run, tough love tactics help the senior.
In the US, self-reliance is prized. While elderly individuals attempt to manage daily life on their own, they are willing to accept help as a last resort. But when adult children offer too much support, aging parents rarely have a chance to be challenged or feel a sense of accomplishment.
Excessive love and attention toward aging parents are detrimental—rather than helpful. While moderate shows of affection elevate mood, too much support with the activities of daily life reinforces feelings of inadequacy. Older people feel powerless and vulnerable, which can lead to depression.
Showing tough love to elderly parents also involves enforcing restrictions to protect them. Seniors may resist the constraints imposed on them, since they have always made their own choices. Unintentionally hurting the parents’ feelings may result, but it protects them from disastrous consequences.
What causes seniors to struggle?
Before embarking on a tough love strategy, it is helpful to know why some seniors resist change. Growing older can be a fearful and stressful experience. The elderly are no longer able to perform the activities they once did without experiencing either physical or cognitive hurdles.
Incontinence issues, sleep problems and an increased risk for falls are just a handful of the many obstacles that seniors face. Some individuals handle the aging process gracefully, while others may lash out at caregivers out of pure frustration or stress.
Older parents may have the desire to retain as much control as possible. Seniors may insist on driving, even when it is no longer safe. Poorer eyesight, increased reaction times and a loss of hearing are impediments to successfully managing a vehicle on the road.
Memory issues associated with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia can lead to misunderstandings between elderly parents and caregivers. Appointments are missed due to forgetfulness. Or, seniors may inaccurately remember an event, person or place, which leads to confusion.
When is a tough love intervention necessary?
As mentioned, driving may no longer be safe for elderly parents, especially those suffering from dementia. Seniors with memory impairments can get lost or may be unable to make quick decisions. Confusing the brake with the accelerator, for instance, can lead to a fatal accident.
Adult children who identify the hazards of aging parents behind the wheel are encouraged to show tough love and take away the keys. Family caregivers can expect resistance. However, this tough love strategy can save a parent’s or another individual’s life.
2. Financial Management
Financial matters may also require tough love intervention. Scammers prey on the elderly, and billions of dollars are lost each year due to the financial exploitation of seniors. Families should become involved in elderly parents’ decision-making when it comes to finances.
Hiring an objective third party, such as a financial advisor, can make the involvement more acceptable to aging seniors. If the parents continue to resist despite discussing the risks to their financial health, ask them to consider giving the adult child power of attorney.
3. Fall Risks
Falling is another hazard that affects the elderly. Insist that frail parents utilize a walker. Remind them that falling will require services from the paramedics, and costs can accumulate when falls occur often. A walker can save the individual from a fall or a potentially life-threatening injury.
How is live-in or 24-hour care the solution?
Family caregivers, especially those who balance a career with caregiving, may have little time to offer necessary support to elderly parents. Professional caregivers offer live-in care or 24-hour home care options so that the senior feels supported yet maintains a sense of independence.
Live-in care involves one caregiver who works 24 hours and is offered an 8-hour sleeping break. Two or more caregivers who work 8-hour shifts are included in 24-hour care. Seniors who receive 24-hour care are monitored continuously, while live-in care provides no supervision during breaks.
Professional caregivers are the solution when families enforce tough love on aging parents. When adult children take away the keys to a vehicle, for instance, professional caregivers are available to drive the senior. Transportation is provided to conduct errands, see a doctor or visit the senior center.
Fall risks are reduced when professional caregivers provide fall risk assessments of the senior’s home. These professionals are trained to identify and remove obstacles, such as rugs or electrical cords, that could cause an elderly individual to trip or fall.
Assisting Hands Home Care provides reliable 24-hour care and live-in care to seniors. Our nonmedical services are comprehensive and meet the needs of elderly individuals of all physical and cognitive levels. Via live-in care or 24-hour care, senior care recipients are monitored throughout the day.
Seniors who suffer from a chronic medical condition benefit from the constant attention of our 24-hour caregivers; two caregivers alternate, providing care during each 12-hour shift. Our live-in caregivers help care recipients prepare for bed, prepare meals and provide timely medication reminders.
Whether families opt for 24-hour care or live-in care, aging parents will receive continual support at home. Our elder care services include help with bathing, grooming and toileting, grocery shopping, fall risk assessment, light housekeeping, and help with mobility, among others.