Aging is a Family Affair

November 11, 2022 | CC Young General

Recently, CC Young had the pleasure of hosting Missy Buchanan, an advocate for older adults and an internationally recognized author and speaker on issues of aging. Missy shared her insights on aging alongside an older loved one, drawing from her own experiences as a caregiver for her aging parent. Here are five tips from Missy on making the journey through aging easier for both adult children and their parents.
1. Empathize with the many losses older adults experience.
Think about your own loved one and ask yourself, “What losses have they experienced?” Examples: Declining health of a spouse, loss of friends through death or a move, loss of home, loss of purpose or independence, loss of health.

2. Include aging parents in decisions about their lives.
The journey through aging is unique to each person. Every individual wants to be respected and listened to. They don’t want to feel like you are making the decisions for them.

3. Learn to talk so the other generation can “hear” you.
You may think you’re saying one thing, and your parent may be hearing another. Never start a conversation with the words: “Mom, you’ve got to ….” Instead, ask, “Mom, what do you think we should do?”

4. Don’t assume you know what is best or what your loved one is thinking.
In a survey of adult children and parents, Missy heard some surprising answers.

What adult children wanted most for their parents in this season of life: safety and security, a nice living environment, and help with daily activities.

What parents most wanted for themselves was very different: to be respected and independent, to be needed, to have purpose, to have deep friendships.

It’s important for parents and children to make decisions together — and not to assume you know what the other wants without talking about it.

5. Anticipate and acknowledge the mixed-up feelings.
A parent may feel hurt if it seems that an adult child is spying on them. They may feel disrespected if not included in decision-making. And they may feel lonely as they deal with losses.

The adult child may feel uncertainty about his or her changing role, frustration with a parent’s lack of appreciation or unreasonable expectations, or relief in knowing that a parent is in a safe environment.

Before a parent will welcome your input, or before your adult child will listen to your feedback, each has to know the other is trying to understand their losses, frustrations, challenges and joys. Together, you will find your way along the journey of aging.

For more insights on aging from Missy Buchanan, visit her here:

Facebook: Aging and Faith, Missy Buchanan

Twitter: @missybuchanan.com

Website: missybuchanan.com

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