It use to be that middle aged adults cared for their senior citizen parents. But today we are seeing a different phenomenon – senior citizen adults caring for their senior citizen parents – as well as middle aged adults caring for their senior citizen parents. How many of you are in some way/ shape/ form helping your parents? If you are, I suspect that you are probably experiencing the beginnings of a role reversal. Depending on the degree of the reversal, it can be uncomfortable feeling – can’t it? Your relationship with your parent is changing…. Neither one of you are probably talking about the change. This only adds to the discomfort.
So how do you cope with this? How do you talk about the changes you are seeing in your parent(s) and their diminishing capacity to function as well as they use to? How do you discuss whether you are doing enough for them? Are you doing too much? Are you not doing enough? How do you balance their autonomy/privacy/right to be free and independent with their well-being? What are they feeling/thinking? It’s tough!
I’m preparing to co-host a discussion entitled “Communicating with Your Aging Parent." It will be from 6-7:30 p.m. April 15. Leading this discussion is Cheryl Conley, director of family and support services for the Alzheimer’s Association of Northwest Ohio. http://www.alz.org/nwohio/ This discussion is NOT specific to memory impairment. We will be talking about a variety of issues associated with aging – not specific condition. If you have never experienced Cheryl, you are really missing out! She is captivating speaker (and a great listener) and a wealth of knowledge in the field of aging.
We aren’t putting a limit on the number of people who can attend, either. I’ve made arrangements for this discussion to take place at two places. Should we have participation of 14 or fewer middle aged adult children, who want to understand how to communicate with your aging parent, we are going to meet at the Serving Our Seniors office, 310 E. Boalt Street – Sandusky. (www.servingourseniors.org) It’s a more intimate setting. However, if the number of participants will be larger than 14, we are going to use the meeting room at the Erie County Office Building (downtown), 247 Columbus Avenue, 3rd Floor – Sandusky.
You would be helping us out if you would post some comments about questions you have as an adult child that is starting to care for/is caring for your parent. I’ll respond as time permits. But more importantly I will use your comments and integrate them into our discussion on April 15.
If you are able to participate, please call our office at 419-624-1856 or 800-564-1856 to RSVP. This will help me to determine what meeting room/location to use. I hope you can come!