Elderly Parents Driving You Crazy? A Success Formula for Overwhelmed Caregivers...
What is an Un-cope-able Parent?
If you and I were chatting over a latte (or stronger beverage!), would you answer a resounding YES to one or more of these questions:
1. Between work, your household and multiple eldercare responsibilities, do your stressful days leave you feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and concerned about your health? (not just on a bad day)
2. As your parents’ health, home and daily lives slide downhill, do you worry that mounting driving, estate planning and other disasters lurk in the wings?
3. Does one or both of your elderly parents suffer from: diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s, depression, OCD, hoarding; addictions/substance abuse; traits like fanaticism, martyrdom, rigidity or tyranny?
One YES anywhere means you have Un-cope-able Parents. Oh, to have cooperative elders. Alas, you drew the short end of the straw. Kind of like mine…
Allow me to introduce myself.
As the only child of a father who battled alcoholism and a mother who confronted paranoid schizophrenia while growing up, I coined the unique term, Un-cope-able Parent, to denote the degree of impossibility I dealt with at the height of my caregiving despair.
By the time they passed away a few years ago, I estimate I’d put in over 250,000 hours’ lived experience dealing with the difficult duo. I’ve walked in your shoes.
As a result, I’m fuelled by empathy for those trapped in the Sandwich Generation. Too often, it feels like you’re the soggy middle in a burnt (out) triple-decker grilled cheese sandwich. And, that’s no bologna!
Either way you slice it, the health, relationship and work price of eldercare is steep.
· Caregivers of aging parents have a 63% higher death rate than their peers without such burdensome responsibilities;
· They’re also more likely to encounter serious long-term health issues such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes or arthritis;
· Amongst those surveyed, 25% reported that caring for an ill or aging relative played a significant role in their divorce or separation.
Still, no matter how grievous your circumstances appear some days, there are ways to prevail with resistant parents.
Here’s your formula for success: Be + Do = Have.
While it might seem logical to dive in and tackle what needs to get done, a headlong rush into action for its own sake can become downright dangerous.
Ever heard of ready, fire, aim? Think about it. What if in your frenzied state, your solutions aren’t workable because you failed to think them through?
All productive results start with deliberate intent. This means FIRST carefully selecting the attitudes, beliefs and feelings you choose to adopt in handling your crotchety elders. Surely, you’d prefer to remain calm and centered. A positive belief is that you can succeed, no matter how much of a fuss they kick up.
You start by choosing how you want to be and feel on the inside. Upon that solid foundation, you build the tactics called for in a given situation.
Together, Being plus Doing create your desired outcomes (the Have). No matter how obstinate your pair can be, you likely wish to get them proper care. Yes, this formula can encompass ‘getting’ your parents to cooperate even when they refuse your every move.
The art lies in how you go about this. Poet Maya Angelou famously declared: “People won’t always remember what you said or did, but they’ll always remember how you left them feeling.” I couldn’t agree more.
Naturally, if your actions consist of ramming your solutions down parental throats, save yourself the effort around the Un-cope-able. Wasn’t it Abraham Lincoln who said: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I’ll spend the first four sharpening the axe”?
Yes, I know you have a second to breathe, let alone think. May I change up your phrasing? You don’t have a moment to waste. Waste it you will, though, if your actions are misguided.
Believe me, no victory with my ultra-stubborn Dad arrived easily. Many ‘experiments’ to persuade him failed. That’s why my Top 5 Being Caregiver Tips next time will equip you with real-life strategies that succeed no matter what.
Until then, I hope you take away my earnest desire to save you a fraction of my eldercare anguish. If I can ease your trials, my mission will be accomplished.
By Carol-Ann Hamilton
Patrick Dahdal and all the team at Transformation TV are thrilled to be working with Carol-Ann Hamilton and sharing her unique message with the world.
You can watch Carol's TV Segment on the TV platform here:
Carol-Ann Hamilton is an Eldercare Coach, speaker, author and healer who appreciates first-hand the daunting responsibilities Baby Boomers face. There, you’ll find out how caregivers restore serenity through customized support. Corporately, Carol-Ann applies 30 years of communications and change management skills to generate employee engagement via leading-edge eldercare practices. Whether one-on-one or in business settings, she is a must-have expert. She has also been interviewed by Jack Canfield.
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