If you live with an elderly parent or parents, you know all too well that the roles have been reversed. The people who cared for you all throughout your childhood now need you to care for them. It’s an interesting predicament to be in, to say the least. Much of your time is likely devoted to their care.
However, it’s important to remember that part of caring for your aging parents is offering them opportunities to do things independently. That involves respect their privacy.
Here are three ways to respect the privacy of your aging parents:
1. Always provide your listening ear.
Too often, senior citizens are made to feel as if their opinions don’t matter. This is especially true when it’s hard for them to find the words to articulate what they want to say. Don’t overlook the messages being delivered by your elderly loved ones. It will help you to better understand when they need some alone time. As Sila Melika of Home Care Assistance in Solon, Ohio attests to, listening is a simple way to respect a senior’s privacy.
“When you truly listen to your elderly loved one, you may understand him or her better,” she writes, “Don’t interrupt your parent while he or she speaks. Wait until your loved one has finished so you can give a suitable reply. If your parent doesn’t feel like talking, respect his or her wishes.”
2. Implement a need-to-know policy.
You need to know when your elderly loved one is in pain. You need to know if he/she requires assistance getting in and out of the bathtub. You need to know if he/she is hungry. You get the picture. There are also a number of things you don’t necessarily need to know. With a need-to-know policy in place, you can communicate to Mom and/or Dad that your respect his/her privacy. This is also an important policy when sharing information with others.
“If your loved one is having difficulty managing his or her finances, he or she probably doesn’t want the whole world to know,” writes Jessica Fairbanks of Cedar Falls, Iowa’s Home Care Assistance, “When faced with this kind of issue, only discuss it with people who need to know. You might tell the accountant now handling your loved one’s finances, but you don’t have to mention it to extended family members or your loved one’s friends from church.”
3. Encourage Mom and/or Dad to be independent.
Some seniors want nothing more than to have their caregivers around them 24/7. This can be a tiresome and frustrating situation for their adult children. Naturally, you want to guarantee the well-being of your parents. But you also require some alone time of your own. Have conversations with Mom and/or Dad and encourage them to be independent.
According to Melika “losing control of their health could cause seniors to become depressed and isolated, but encouraging independence is one way to honour their privacy. You can help your loved one out with daily activities, but let him or her perform tasks independently without overstepping. When you encourage independence, you allow your parent to maintain some control over his or her life, which includes personal space.”
Would a stair lift or a wheelchair help your aging parent to be more independent? Please don’t hesitate to call LifeCare Mobility Solutions at 416-267-9800 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how we can help. You may also contact us by filling out the form on our Contact page!