Caring for elderly parents
Audrey Glickman’s article about adult children overtaking care of their elderly parents when the parent is not consulted or it is not in their best interest has its point (“Packing our parents in cotton wool,” Jan. 7).
Conversely, I have witnessed an opposing situation. This is when the parent is not making the healthiest or safest choices for herself, yet the children are reluctant to take the lead. This gets into family dynamics that evolved long before the parent developed her current need. The adult children, no matter their age or professional capabilities, may have followed their mother’s lead all her life, anxious of being reprimanded by her critical eye. The parent herself may have presented a persona of independence and competence.
Now, when the parent, who may not have dementia, develops hard-to-deny physical and/or emotional needs, it is difficult to reverse this pattern in the blink of an eye. The 60- and 70-year-old children, who care deeply for their parent, may need great support to embolden them into assuming greater responsibility here.
Thus, these “what if” conversations are good to have now before families find themselves caught in this quagmire where everyone suffers.