Yes, Mom and Dad can no longer look after themselves. They need help and they chose holiday time to move in with you.
You think, “Oh what am I going to do? I have so much on my plate! I knew this would happen one day… Why now right on Christmas?”.
The reality is that this was going to happen eventually, wasn’t it?
I mean, you knew they weren’t going to be able to look after themselves one day…
But you just didn’t want to face it, right?
It’s Not Just You
Too often this scenario plays out in many people’s lives.
At some point Mom or Dad (or both) decide they cannot do it on their own any more.
Worse still, they come for a holiday and they just stay!
They may live in another city and the traveling is getting to be too much for them.
Whatever the reason, you need to face the fact that this is going to happen some day and you may not be able to avoid it.
It Wasn’t In The Plan…
I know life takes over.
You become busy with children, school, community activities and work.
Mom or Dad didn’t take up too much of your time apart from the phone calls and occasional visits.
They were doing fine weren’t they? They seemed to be managing all right on their own?
But the fact is, they probably weren’t at all but didn’t tell you.
Can You Be Prepared?
So how are you going to prevent a situation where you have to scramble around and find solutions in a hurry?
The answer is simple:
- Expect that it will happen one day. Anticipating that a problem will occur takes a lot of stress away from you – and from them.
- Have the conversation with them early so you know what they are thinking. It may be that they have always expected to move in with you or they may move in on short notice because they do not have a plan B.
- Make some inquiries about suitable help in the home before a crisis occurs, or find out what residential care is available for short term or long term.
Yes, Parents Can Be Difficult
Now I know that parents can be difficult.
Some can have expectations of you that you have no intention of fulfilling.
Some parents may have no intention of ever moving in with you but suddenly they are faced with a situation out of their control… and they are relying on you to help.
We Aren’t All Prepared
Many cultures do not see this as a problem.
They expect to take care of their family at some point.
Some cultures expect a particular child to fill this role.
Some have their parent living with them while children are growing up… but this is not necessarily the case for all of us.
While it may have been more common 200 years ago or even 50 years ago, this is not the norm now.
The World Has Changed
We are a very mobile society.
It is quite rare for children to stay in the same town they grew up in these days.
We move to different cities, towns or even countries for jobs or by choice for a better life or job.
This makes it difficult for parents left, often with no one to speak up for or take care of them until a crisis situation develops.
So how can you reduce the trauma for all when or if this happens?
Well it really is quite simple.
Have these discussions early with your parents or parent.
As I said earlier, have a plan B in place.
Then even if things change, you still have a solid plan you can work with.
So these holidays, if you are lucky enough to have all the family together start the discussion.
Get everyone on the same page.
Have the start of a plan at least. This will save a lot of distress for all concerned.