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Enabling Your Loved
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How to Help Your Elderly Parent Through Denial–the First Stage of Aging

Elderly Care in Cherry Hill NJ

Elderly Care in Cherry Hill NJPsychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross became well-known after her ground-breaking book, On Death and Dying, came out in 1969. In it, she describes the five common stages that many terminally ill people go through. These stages are now considered part of the aging process and remain as true today as they were over 40 years ago. These stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Your elderly parent may skip several of the stages and experience them in any order. Knowing which stage they may be going through in the aging process will bring understanding and empathy—two attributes all children of aging parents desperately need. This article focuses on the first stage: denial.

Denial

“I can do it myself,” your elderly parent protests as they try and open a jar of peanut butter or take the trash can out to the curb. You look on as they take more than five rest stops on the short jaunt from the garage to the curb. No one wants to admit that they are not as quick on their feet or that their strength is diminishing. And pointing out either issue may get you a raised eyebrow or a stern reprimand.

At Odds

Parents do not want to be treated as children. They do want to keep their dignity and pride, and, to this end, may not readily admit that they have noticed their strength declining or their memory waning. When you see your father having difficulty getting out of his favorite recliner or your mom mailing the bills out, but forgetting to put the checks in the envelopes, you know it’s time to address their need for help.

Because of the love you feel for your elderly parent, many children hesitate to bring up this often charged subject. However, when declining physical or mental properties start affecting your parent’s safety or health, the time has come. Pointing out their failures will only cause ill-will. Sitting down together and discussing how nice it would be if they had more free time and fewer things to worry about is a better approach. If communication between you and your parent is tenuous at best, having a third party intervene may help a parent find a way through the stage of denial.

Elderly Care Providers

One gentle approach is to suggest going out to lunch with a professional that you have previously discussed your concerns with. Both parties can then take the time to get to know each other. An elderly care provider can suggest areas that they would be happy to help with such as preparing some meals, washing the dishes, doing the laundry and providing light housekeeping. Keeping these suggestions in a positive light by asking the elderly care provider if they can come over to your house when their done at your mom’s can help your parent see the benefits, not as it relates to their failings, but as a positive addition to their still vital lifestyle.

For elderly care in Cherry Hill, NJ and the surrounding areas, call and talk to us at Home to Stay Healthcare Solutions (856) 321-1500.

Andrew Dubler

Home to Stay Health Care Solutions (H2S) is a solutions minded, non-medical home care company enabling seniors and disabled members of our community to stay at home.
Home to Stay Senior Care Solutions is owned and operated by the Dubler and Skole Families and was started because of experiences they had with their own Families. In one situation Mom was living alone and had a fall. It was not until this fall that the family realized they were unprepared.

When it was time for their Mom to come home, she needed companion and personal care to assist her and prevent another accident. Like most people in this situation, they were confused and did not know where to go for help. It was this life-changing experience that lead to starting a home care company that is focused on enabling those who wish to stay at home and age in place.
Andrew Dubler