Top Ten Elder Care Conflict Tips

Well here goes a foray into a subject I know just a little about, but a lot less than some people: Elder Care. I thought one of our Top Ten Tips might be the best way to handle this emotionally charged and draining topic/activity. (I will post a similar set of tips for those being cared for when I figure out what they might want to hear or if someone in care wants to send me tips.)

So here goes:

  1. Remember that your elderly parent can still push your pain/guilt/shame buttons because they installed them and your boundaries are completely invisible to them
  2. My parents’ generation never learned the ‘meta-level’: to talk about talking so that you can figure out better ways to talk about fixing what is wrong
  3. Last time your parents were in a power relation with you, they had the power and they are never going to accept the reversal
  4. Whatever relationship you had with your parents all your life, it just gets exaggerated when they age and become dependent. i.e. If your parents were awkward at 40; guess what they will be impossibly awkward at 80.
  5. Your parents grew up in a different world from you and are likely never going to adapt that ‘this is what it is’, so arguments about basic reality will be common
  6. I have never met an elder who was not de-hydrated, or one that recognized it, and was willing to do anything about it: like drink water. Come to think of it, I can’t recall meeting an elder who had taken much care of their body: they are all Cartesian Dualists thinking that their mind can float free of their bodies, which might be a good idea, but exercise is still a good idea
  7. As their health deteriorates the pathological need to be in control grows proportionally. This almost lead to my Dad getting out of a moving car in the medical center car park when he was 15 minutes early for a doctor’s appointment
  8. ‘Cut it out’ is a respectful way to stop outrageous performances
  9. It is real hard to be empathetic with your parents when they seem unable to return the favour; and no doubt they feel the same.
  10. Friends telling you how to handle elder care better and providing unsolicited advice really suck and are best told to ‘cut it out!’
And remember you will be old one day, but let’s hope you learn some better behavior… 🙂 and it is no excuse for putting up with bad behavior….

About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Marital and Relationship Conflict, Top Ten Conflict Tips from Great Thinkers, Ways to handle conflict and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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