Role Reversal: Adult Children And Dependent Parents
Adult children often find themselves involved in decisions about living arrangements for aging parents. Shifts in adult roles and responsibilities–while they may offer new opportunities for deepening family ties–often mean changes that can challenge and put a stress on daily living, routines, and resources.
Kathleen’s professional experience in helping people deal with living transitions later in life became personal when her own mother, Carol, faced some changes.
The decision that she needed assistance at all was difficult for Carol to accept; the prospect of a move from home to an assisted living community was even harder. One thing that became very clear, and helped to ease the difficulty of the move, was that Carol had always enjoyed the process of planning for and thinking about how to decorate her living space. By helping to choose the pieces that she would bring with her and even shop (with Kathleen’s help) for new things, she maintained an important sense of control over this new phase of her life. That made a world of difference and made the transition easier for all concerned.
“In my work with people going through this kind of transition I always pay careful attention to the client’s needs and wishes. I love hearing the stories about the dining room table passed down over the years. If it won’t fit in the new space we find it a special new home. Sometimes just taking the time to talk about the meaning behind a life’s collection of furnishings makes it easier to select those things that will work in a new space and … let go of the rest.”