By Carolyn Rosenblatt, Forbes.com
Some basic but useful tips on how to parent your parents. Surprising opening:
“Sometimes, we have to tell THEM what to do. It’s uncomfortable. The image we may have of our parents is that they had power over us when we were growing up. Now, we have a kind of power over them.
I’ve often wondered what it must feel like for this to a be new role for someone as an adult, because it wasn’t new for me. My own mom was mentally ill from the time I was born. Parenting her started for me when I was 12 years old.”
She goes on to tell some of her own experiences parenting her Mom as a child. Then, a list of some basic advice Ms. Rosenblatt learned from her own experiences on how to cope with this role-reversal:
* Get support yourself, from caregiver groups, your friends, or find out where to go from your Area Agency on Aging.
* Accept your new role. No one else is going to do it for you.
* Be assertive. Get used to asserting yourself with your aging parent. …. you can’t be child-like yourself here.
* Pay attention to the basics. Thing like your parent’s hygiene, grooming, weight loss, regular meals and sticking to the medication schedule.
* Insist. If your parent resists help (my mother often did), gently insist. “We’ve got to do this, Mom. Let’s not fuss about it” is a line to memorize and repeat. I’ve found being gentle but firm usually works.
* Prepare the right financial documents. Managing your parent’s money is one of the toughest part of all this. Make sure you have a durable power of attorney form properly signed and notarized before a parent gets dementia or gets worse.