Transitions With Jean Blog

The new year is a time for change... or is it?

January 6, 2019

When you are with Mom and Dad, put aside your fast-paced ways and slow down a little.

Your parents’ home is their comfort zone. They are content there because nothing changes. As eyesight and energy fades, they are still cozy because they know where everything is. It is their nest. Then you stop over.

Do you breeze into your parents’ world and want to change things? Have you decided that it is time for a new chair, or you want to clean out their pantry or rearrange the living room because it is boring? That is so disruptive to their peace.

A different way you could visit your parents is to take a deep breath and settle in. Go and enjoy the time you are spending with them, and let them enjoy it, too. Instead of putting them in a dither, just s-l-o-w d-o-w-n.

We do this thing called “multi-tasking” and seem quite proud of our ability to do so.

To our parents, it is exhausting. They are conditioned to start and finish a task before moving on to the next thing. Not only is it part of their make-up, but as folks age, it may take a little longer to complete something. Trying to rush them, or doing several things at once, can be frustrating for them, and for us, too because they don’t keep up.

If you are helping them pay bills, just sit down together and finish that task before moving on to the next project.

If there is a change that you think will help them, tell them your suggestion, explain why it will help, show them 2-3 times; walk through it. Discuss it together and ask their permission to try it. Don’t just steamroll them with your choices.

If Mom is not taking her meds correctly, how can you help solve it, together? If you come up with a solution and she isn’t on board, it isn’t going to happen once you leave.

If Dad isn’t getting the bills paid on time, can you work with him to get more organized, perhaps setting up some ACHs or auto pay, or you write the checks and he signs them?

Also, when you are at their home, put things back! If you get out the cards to play a game, put them back where you found them. Of course, Mom has been telling you this all of your life, but now it takes on new significance. She has her habits and her patterns, they make her life relaxing. Upsetting her order disturbs her world.

What isn’t relaxing is that phone call you get an hour after you leave. She is in a frenzy because her checkbook is missing. You left it on the kitchen table. If that isn’t where you found it, you shouldn’t have left it there.

When you go visit, you can be a disruption, or you can make life easier by helping them.

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