A character can become difficult with the advancing age. And it’s even more difficult when it’s your parents in question. You feel a responsibility, you have to manage the concrete life of every day taking into account their needs … and their character.
Is not the fourth age of parents the moment to restore to parents all that they have given us?
The way in which parent- child relationships in old age are to take place depends very much on family history, including from childhood.
In some cases, children feel that they have received a great deal from their parents and feel accountable or simply want to give as much as they have received, through gratitude.
But in other families, children may have been subjected to physical or psychological maltreatment, such as humiliation, harassment, punishment, neglect: they may not have an attachment, Or received very few manifestations of love. And they can not give what they have not received. They can not.
There is a strong social pressure in the sense that “you have to love your parents, you have to look after them”, regardless of the type of relationship parents have with their children. This social pressure creates an important guilt, including in people who have experienced difficult things with their parents, and who can then be told: “They are old now, time has passed, you can forgive them, and Are still your parents … “.
As a result, in therapy, I hear adult children begin their explanation by saying, “You’ll think I’m a bad son or a bad girl, but …”
Is it still common for children to take their parent (s) home?
- Often, single, widowed, single or divorced women take a relative at home. The counterpart, more or less unconscious, may be less to feel solitude. The problem is that often they do not measure the difficulty that this may pose one day, the physical and psychological burden that this will represent.
- There are also children who take their parents to their homes because of the guilt they feel, also because of the poor image of the nursing homes.
- And then there are financial reasons. It is sometimes easier to take them home than paying for a nursing home.
But to welcome a relative at home when you are in a couple, with your family, can lead to unbearable tensions and conflicts with your loved ones; Some people sacrifice their own family and couple life for their parent or use their health by going to exhaustion.
Here is a key point: When you take one of your parents home, you should be clear that it is not necessarily final.
It is necessary to explain: “For now, it is possible for me, but if it is too difficult, too painful, too heavy, perhaps we must consider other solutions …” It is essential to say it from the beginning, otherwise one can feel trapped. And it would be a shame to end up hating someone you love.
When living as a couple or as a family, the decision to welcome a relative at home should be carefully considered and agreed upon by all the protagonists.
It must be difficult to refuse to take a relative home if he or she so requests …
What often happens is that one yields to the blackmail of his parent: “You do not come to see me often enough”; Or “You do not have much time to enjoy me”.
- It is important to rely on what one feels at the bottom of one’s self. By not respecting one another, one enters a functioning which will bring nothing good neither to the parents nor to the children.
- It is important to know how to make arrangements. If the elderly parent has all his intellectual faculties, to say no is quite possible. It is even important to put it back in its place when it goes beyond the limits.
- We must not accept threats, blackmail, including suicide blackmail. Of course, a medical opinion is sometimes necessary to ensure that the person is not depressed, but otherwise, an elderly person is an adult like any other and must respect his / her relatives and their privacy; It’s not because a person is old that you can not say no and put limits.
It’s not easy to grow old until you’re old
If one prepares very early in life for the idea of aging well, one can already follow preventive measures known today and thus avoid a number of pathologies likely to lead to dependence. Even for Alzheimer’s disease, there are protective factors that can be activated.
More generally, one can prepare psychologically for old age. Ideally :
- To prepare throughout his life to give up certain things,
- To learn to finish the mourning,
- To take the time also to live these transitions of life,
- To question himself regularly about the meaning of his life.
If one has filled with good memories, if one has developed his inner life, one lives much better the great age.
It is easier to be able to do certain things if we are prepared for them and if we find compensations in other aspects of our lives. It is a vast program that concerns us all.
What prevents us from reaching the point of aging well psychologically?
In our society, there are collective beliefs about old age, often false and negative. And they have a great impact on our personal beliefs.
These negative beliefs are for example:
- “It’s not good to be old,
- ” it’s horrible “,
- “It is lapse”,
- “One becomes ugly and repulsive”,
- “There is no benefit to old age”,
- “No one is interested anymore”,
- “We are useless” …
Collective beliefs are transmitted and appropriated. And if we believe it … we risk conforming to the image we expect of ourselves. On the other hand, at the moment, we can live very long and to live it well, we need models.
They are not shown. The taboo of old age leads to hiding it, including in its beautiful and enviable. If we were to show that old age can be a very rich, very precious period, that would change our vision. There are people who age well. And many think these are exceptions. Yet, it is false, there are many. Around you, many say, “Oh yes, I know so-and-so” and we realize that we all know very old people who live rather well in their advanced age.
So, I advise you to look for positive models of elderly people around you to prepare yourself for beauty to advance in age.