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Are Your Parents Driving You Crazy?
How to Resolve the Most Common Dilemmas with Aging Parents
by Joseph A. Ilardo, PhD, LCSW, and Carole R. Rothman, PhD

Excerpts from Chapter 3
"At an Impasse?"

1. Alter the cast of characters.
Sometimes bringing in an outsider whom your parents trust and respect, such as a friend, a relative, or the clergy, can offer a fresh perspective that opens up new possibilities. For example, if your mother, who is resisting hiring an aide, has the utmost regard for her parish priest or her congregation's rabbi, a friendly visit and a gentle suggestion from the clergy may persuade her to try an aide. This approach will help her save face, too, because she will be able to say she is deferring to the clergy's suggestion. Similarly, if a neighbor is pleased with an aide who helps her shop and clean, you can ask that neighbor to speak with your mother. Hearing reassurances from someone she knows may be enough to convince your mother to hire the same aide on a trial basis.

4. Take your parents' words literally in order to find some room to maneuver.
Since a stroke left your mother disabled, your father spends all his time caring for her, and they have both become socially isolated. Your mother's doctor has urged her to spend a few hours a day at a local adult day-care center. Not only would this give your father a break, it would provide opportunities for social contact and stimulation that would benefit your mother. She likes the idea. Whenever you suggest this to your father, however, he says he is opposed to "dumping her" there. Since your father equates leaving her at day care with "dumping her," you might suggest that he remain there with her as a volunteer.
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