“I don’t need anything…. I am fine…… Leave me alone…..” Do any of these refrains sound familiar to you?
Last week I was part of a conversation during which a group of woman friends got together to brain storm ways to assist another one of their friends, who has a very complicated health history including uncontrolled diabetes, has had several falls including one which resulted in a broken hip and in addition, she has had a few TIA’s. She lives alone in a two story home and is adamant that she does not want to:
-wear an emergency pendant (she tried it and it kept going off)
-have anyone live with her
-have anyone provide any 1:1 assistance
-live in a supported (assisted living) environment.
She is divorced, has two adult sons and fortunately for her, she also has a close network of friends- who care and worry about her. So where does that leave them?
From all available information, she is still capable to make her own decisions. No one agrees or even likes her decisions but what can they do, if she is still capable?
Unfortunately, the answer is not much. The risks have been laid out for her, the question is whether she is aware (and cares) how worried everyone is when she does not answer her phone or show up at the expected time.
I frequently speak about ‘reverse guilt’ and have previously blogged on this topic. I describe it as the opportunity to shift the focus from one’s worry about the other person, to how difficult it is for that person (friend, spouse, adult child) when they are worried and how it negatively impacts them. Explain the toll it is taking on YOU and ask if there are ways that together the conversation can be had and the risks minimized.
Find a good time to bring up this conversation, when the person may be more receptive to hearing about YOUR worry rather than hearing what they perceive to be nagging and meddling…..
It is worth a try…… We may not like our parent’s (or friend’s) decisions, but while capable it is still typically their decisions to make…….