"What to do with older parents who are hard to deal with"
Lots of the baby boomers are getting older themselves but at the same time have older parents that need care. What can we do?
I young lady emailed me the other day and said: "I have older parents that live in our home, plus I also have to take care of my husband. It's too much for me to do and I am feeling overwhelmed. And if I bring in a person to help my mother won't stand for it because she doesn't trust strangers. What can I do?
Here is what I told her: First of all you could try bringing in someone and having them become friends with your mother and then hire them to come in and help. That way your mother will not feel there is a stranger in the house.
Older parents as they get up in age can become more like children, especially as they become less active and need attention on a regular basis. I have seen this over and over again, with lots of different people who have aging parents. And sometimes the older parents can get our control and make life difficult for their adult children. But the truth of the matter is that you and your husband are the heads of the house and thus have the final say. Many times we have to be strong and loving and kind at the same time. It's a fine line but it can be done, and in the end, someone has to make a decision as to what to do. And sometimes we have to use "Tough Love" to get through our day and to care for everyone.
Tough love doesn't mean we are unkind to our parents. Just the opposite, we are trying to treat them with the dignity by giving them the proper care they need. Thus what seems to be unfair to the parents may be the best thing for the parents in the long run.
And when our parent's medical needs are more than what we can take care of, then they the parents may have to be placed into a special home where they have 24/7 attention. That's not easy, older parents never want that, but at the same time sometimes there is no alternative. Thus one has to be powerful inside and know that you are doing the best you can. And thus let go of all guilt and shame that might be attached with this... because you feel as though you are letting your parents down. You are not letting your parents down at all. In fact, it's kind of like having a boat that's sinking and there are people on it. Instead of climbing on the boat and going down with the ship with all the stress and worry, you try to set up a system so they can escape with life preservers and row boats. If you jump in the water and go down with the ship that doesn't help anything.
And it's vital that we pray to God, the Universe, and Great Spirit for other answers that might be available. God has infinite knowledge and because of that knows everything that is possible. So it's important to go to that ultimate source of great wisdom and surrender and ask for help. It's amazing what can happen when we let go and let God. I have seen miracles take place when all seemed lost.
All Will Work Out!
Dr. Paul Haider
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