How to empower your elderly relatives and make your life easier.
You can’t get your relative to accept help to drive them to shopping and appointments. They are fine they say and you are there to help all of the time, why should they accept help? The reality is they are not fine. You cannot spend day time hours to take them to appointments when you have work and other commitments. Still, they dig their heels in and refuse to consider anything else. What are you to do?
First, stop enabling them. Refuse to help as often if it interferes with your life. Make your life easier. Of course you do not want them to miss doctor appointments because you have drawn a line. Instead give them options other than you.
Sit down with your relative and say that the days of you doing everything are over. That is a fact that is not in dispute. You have to work and cannot afford to lose your job or you also care for others like children and they cannot be ignored. Assure them you will not let them miss appointments. After that fact is agreed upon, give them choices of which solution they will choose.
In the case of transportation there are options:
- Public senior transport is free or low cost but the radius they will travel is limited and you can wait hours for pick up from your appointment. They also usually cover medical appointments but not shopping.
- Private companies, Like The Extra Daughter, are reliable and personal and will go longer distances but we do have a cost associated with our service.
- Volunteers from a church or community centers do exist but there are not many of them.
- Friends or neighbors can be used but please read my blog on asking too much from people.
This can also be used for living situations when deciding between staying at home with help or moving to independent or assisted living.
Implementing your plan
The true answer may be a combination of services depending on the circumstance. Longer or more complicated trips may call for a company like The Extra Daughter but simple, close appointments may be appropriate for public transport. When it comes to transportation, it is not a permanent choice. Try each option and see which is best. I have had several clients who have told me they were against having someone help them but once we go out with them they are very surprised at how much they enjoyed having someone to do errands with them and help them.
This all comes down to control. Older adults feel they lack control in their lives and their children or relatives are making decisions for them. If you establish facts and ask them to decide on solutions, they will feel more in control and more likely to comply. Then, everyone will be happy and your life will be easier.