Big changes can be a part of the aging process for your elderly family member. She might find that it’s her health changing or even her living space. No matter what the challenges are, you need a plan to help her cope.
Differentiate Between What She Can Change and What She Can’t.
The first step is always going to be figuring out what can be changed and what can’t. If your elderly family member is facing the prospect of no longer driving, for example, this is likely something that she can’t change. Her eyesight might be failing her or she might not be physically able to control the car and turn the way she needs to in order to see what’s going on around her. So letting go of control helps.
Talk through How She’s Feeling.
That doesn’t change how your aging adult is feeling, though. That has to be dealt with separately. Your elderly family member’s feelings are valid, so it’s important to let her know that from the outset. She’s probably frustrated, angry, and sad, just to name a few of the emotions she’s battling. Acknowledging those feelings can help her to work through them.
Look for Aspects Worthy of Gratitude.
Okay, so now your elderly family member can’t drive, but there are silver linings here. She won’t have to pay to keep her car going, for starters. This is especially helpful if her budget is pretty tight. She’ll be able to still go where she needs to go, either with you or with elder care providers. Try to find as many aspects of the problem as possible about which your elderly family member can express gratitude.
Establish Some Action Steps.
Next your aging adult needs some action steps that she can follow. When she’s feeling frustrated by her inability to drive, what can she do that helps her to cope? Does she have a list of people that she can call in order to get the transportation that she needs? Having a solid plan that she can follow can help your aging adult to manage what was formerly an unmanageable situations.
No matter what types of changes your elderly family member is facing, tackling them head on is one of the best ways to get to the other side.