When it's Time to Move Mom or Dad, Get Out of the Way
Posted Oct 28 2008 9:48pm
Once you've opened the doors of communication with your mom, dad or other elder loved one, it's time to get a good understanding of what kind of community they'd like to live in. This is so important...once those doors of communication have opened and you have your mom, dad or other elder open to talking with you about what they'd like their next home to be, don't slam the door shut on them. Don't take this wrong, but GET OUT OF THE WAY! At some point we go from being children and attempt to parent our parents as if we know what's best for them. Not that we can't add value and help them get from point A to point B, but this isn't about us. It's about listening, without our own wants and fears getting in the way, to what THEY want.
I've watched my client's children go from being helicopter parents to helicopter children. I've watched well meaning children demean their parents into thinking they are no longer adults and no longer have any control over their own destiny.
If you're able to put your own fears aside for a minute, imagine what this might be like for your parent or other elder. They've lost friends and neighbors, the neighborhood and church they belong to is changing, perhaps they are no longer driving, and now they're being encouraged to move. What do you do when you feel like you don't belong anywhere? You cling to what you know and what is familiar with everything you're worth, even if you know you can no longer take care of the house and spend most of your days in loneliness. Loneliness is better than the fear of the unknown!!
The way to get through this with your parents is with patient, open conversation. Guide them into being open to new possibilities vs. shoving them into a new reality they aren't quite ready for.