Youngsters who maintain getting older mother and father expertise anger, stress, frustration
Most of us are born and consider our parents healthy, strong, and eternal. As we grow and age, the naive feeling that they are an eternal part of our lives fades. Their hearing deteriorates, their gait slows, their memories deteriorate, and in adult children the experience can provoke feelings of anger, fear, fear, and frustration.
“Many people struggle when they see their parents decline in function due to age,” said Laura Carstensen, psychology professor at Stanford University and director of the Center on Longevity. “Cultural scripts that value freedom of choice and autonomy equate vulnerability with failure. If we take this message to the extreme, we will all fail at some point. “
It is a stressful transition, experts say, as adult children begin to see their parents as less capable caregivers and more as those in need of care themselves. Children are beginning to wonder how quickly a decline will accelerate, how healthy their parents are, what their future life will be like. The role shift between child and parent can challenge family dynamics, complicated by negative stereotypes about aging that contribute to the feeling that aging is something that people must resist or deny.
“It’s an odd shift from when they were responsible for you. Now you may be responsible for them and they won’t listen to your orders like an eight-year-old would,” said Alan Castel, senior investigator at UCLA’s Memory & Lifespan Cognition Lab and author of “Better with Age: The Psychology of Successful Aging”.
The desire to deny the decline
There is a subtle grief that children experience when their aging parents begin to lose their ability to function. Children may want to deny their parents’ decline, which experts say can be enhanced by a culture that suggests fighting or hiding aging.
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Hair dyes and wrinkle creams are widely accepted, while hearing aids and walking aids are avoided.
Negative stereotypes about aging can complicate the dynamic between adult children who see their parents in need of help and parents who tend to reject anything they identify as older or more vulnerable.
“When you think of an older adult, you might think wisely or kindly, but we also see older people explicitly and implicitly as smelly, slow, bad drivers, stubborn or gruff,” said Castel.
Challenges of the “sandwich generation”
The natural and normal burdens of dealing with an aging parent are made even more difficult by competing care requirements.
According to the Pew Research Center, nearly half of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent who is 65 or older who is either raising a young child or sponsoring a child over the age of 18. About 1 in 7 support both an aging parent and child financially.
Of all adults with at least one parent aged 65 or older, 30% say that their parents need help to support themselves. The same number applies to emotional support.
These adults belong to the so-called “sandwich generation”, who simultaneously take care of their own children and their aging parents. The relentless financial and emotional stress of both can take their toll, leading to what Castel calls “foster stress,” especially when the aging parents do not want the foster care.
You can’t name this feeling ?:This is called emotional exhaustion.
“It’s so frustrating to respect parents but also wanting to help,” he said.
Communicate, choose battles, and seek support
When a parent’s health worsens, good communication can make the transition easier.
“It’s about thinking about how to communicate things effectively without being condescending,” Castel said. “Sometimes they say, ‘I love you and I do because it can in some ways improve your life. I know it doesn’t feel good. ‘”
Castel suggests asking older parents questions like: “Do you like it when I do this?” or “Do you know why I’m doing this?”
An older parent may say, “I hate it when you keep telling me to wear a hearing aid.” But the child may reply, “Well, I feel like I have to repeat things or you sometimes miss things. I like to repeat things when it is important, but it makes me a little frustrated.”
Children have to choose their battles. If the parents’ hearing is deteriorating but they can still participate in a conversation, they may not press the hearing aid. If your memory fades but no one is lost when they get home, keeping watching can be a good strategy.
Children can make it clear to their parents that they may not be able to do as many things as they used to, while reassuring their parents that they will do their best to help them participate in activities that matter most to them are.
Children can also help with the transition by seeking support, whether from siblings or caregiver support groups.
“Accepting aging and mortality can be liberating”
Aging is normal, even if our culture suggests otherwise. Experts say it is important that people accept the process and recognize that there are things that get better with age. Older people can be more emotionally intelligent, sensible, and aware of what is good for them.
“The reality is that practically all people encounter physical problems as they get older,” said Carstensen. “It’s less about avoiding the inevitable than about living a satisfying life with limitations. Accepting aging and mortality can be liberating.”
Acceptance can be the goal, although it can be difficult to keep track of a parent’s age, not only based on what is happening to the parents, but also based on what the child knows it will happen to them as well.
“It scares us,” said Castel. “We think, ‘One day this could be me. And indeed, if all goes well, one day I will be.’ One thing to tell yourself is, ‘How should my child treat me?’ “