Navigation: POP Community Forums Parenting Your Parents First POP experience this week

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    My parents (87 & 84) had an almost head-on collision about a month ago (not their fault), and waited a week to tell me about it.  They were both treated and released from the hospital, but are pretty banged up.  They told us (my wife and I) they were fine and that we didn’t need to come out (we live 8 hours away). After several phone calls I was not feeling comfortable, so my wife arrived this past Wednesday. I arrived on Thursday.  My wife is a Saint.  My mother has not always been kind to my wife, but my wife and I (mostly my wife) spent three days cleaning an utterly filthy house (way more than had accumulated since the wreck); washing clothes and sheets; scrubbing floors and filthy bathrooms; arranging for companion care & a “deep cleaning” housekeeper; helping my dad get another vehicle (yeah… I know.)  Yesterday I felt great about the progress we made, and the statements by both of my parents that they were ready to move closer to me.  Today I am very frustrated because its obvious they are no where close to a mindset of moving, and today my mother had nothing but negative comments about things being moved, thrown away, etc. I have a feeling the home care folks will quit (my mother can be quite hateful), and we will have to wait… 8 hours away… for some ultimate crisis, that could be avoided.  I know if POP was easy this forum wouldn’t exist… so unfortunately, this may be my first of many “whinings”.  By the way, I think the initial progress was a result of Jane’s book (I’ve only read the first few chapters), and taking a approach of asking rather than telling, seemed productive.

    Iris Coffin

    Have you considered an assisted living situation? I know the space is often smaller than most people’s house but they would have cleaning, laundry services, cooking, etc. that could be taken care of by others. We have some very nice facilities here and we are a very small town (7500). Might be worth a look.


    Please write back often and encourage others who are struggling to also share their problems and solutions.

    Hopefully as you keep reading your way through the  “Oh My God!, We’re Parenting Our Parents” book, you’ll find a lot more guidance and see more “progress.”  And you’re right, it isn’t easy — at either end.

    You’re on the right track with asking rather than telling.  Realize that moving away from what is familiar to your parents is a big change, and one they might not be ready for.

    Find moments here and there to encourage them to move closer, but don’t push the issue if they are still able to manage.

    Similarly to your parents, when my parents said “No, we’re not coming” after they’d said “yes.”  In my case, it took several more years for them to move to where she lived and the triggering event was “THE DOCTOR SAID IT WAS NECESSARY.”

    Understand that there may be only so much you can do until your parents decide it’s in their best interest OR until a triggering event or series of events makes it necessary for you to actually step in and help. Always better if it’s the first one and you all plan it out together.


    Complaining comes naturally to elderly people, especially when they feel their decisions being taken over by someone else,    One of my tricks is using parents against each other ,or for.  We had to put a shower on the first floor.  We told Mom ,Dad needs it because he has had knees replaced.  We told Dad, Mom needs it she’s getting weaker.  You, may have to start with smaller steps.  I know its very frustrating,  they will change their minds a thousand more times.  My parents I started a cleaning lady once a week and am trying to increase it.  I tried a companion , interviewed her, checked referrences, etc.  My mother had an absolute melt down when she was coming to the house.  Good Luck.

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