Don’t Boss the Boss!
My good friend Becky Peters at Lifespan, a high quality geriatric management firm here in Santa Cruz told me this:
“Don’t boss the boss!”
She could not have been more correct. One thing I have learned, and if you stop and look within a moment, no one perceives themselves as old! You may know your knees are less springy, or your back hurts in the morning, but rare is the person that sees themselves as old and irrelevant.
A director at The Park Lane, a senior residential community in Monterey told this story: “Ruth came to every open house for 7 years since she was 82. She chatted and smiled, knew all the staff, gushed over the lovely lunch and dining room. But she never made a move to sell her house and move in. He finally asked her, “Ruth, you come every year and love our Park Lane, but you don’t join the community. Why?” Ruth leaned in close and whispered in his ear, “too many old people!”
This is so common. And lord help you if you try and boss, coerce, flatter, or even coax one of these elders into doing something they don’t want to do, or worse, tell them HOW to do something! You will get a reaction.
The idea is, “I’ve lived 70,80,90 years just fine whippersnapper, don’t tell ME how to do this!”
Even if you are right, you will be wrong. And often they can do it themselves! There are better ways to get a strong willed elder to help themselves or let you help. Think finesse not force.
Stay tuned for more on the easier ways to make your life smoother as a caregiver and grant that elder some respect and happiness.