2Sisters Speak: Surviving the Sandwich Generation- Episode 28

Communication for a Successful Outcome

Why do I want an air-fryer so badly? And why won’t my aging loved one ask for help when they need it? How can these things possibly be connected? And maybe most importantly, why are we talking about this on a podcast?

At least once or twice a week we talk to someone who made a promise to a loved one that they can’t keep. “I promised my dad I would never put him in a home,” for example. They had the best of intentions to keep their promise, but they didn’t have all of the facts before making a commitment like that. Aside from legitimate constraints, like finances, that may make keeping promises like that impossible, home may not actually be what your loved one wants. In many circumstances people are not thriving at home and that is not what they are clinging to, instead it’s the feeling of comfort and safety that being home represents for them. And change is hard at any age. In this episode, Alyson and Michelle discuss ways to successfully get your loved one’s buy in to participate in planning for their safety in the future.

Three key takeaways from this episode:

  1. We are all in a developmental phase, the purpose for which is a search for independence, control and meaning. Our aging loved ones are no exception.
  2. Air fryers are cool.
  3. The best way to get our loved one’s buy in is to listen to them and make sure they feel that they are being heard. Even if their expectations are unrealistic, success really comes best from understanding exactly what they envision as possible for themselves.

References & Links mentioned in the show

Gene Cohen, a student of psychoanalyst Erik Erikson, states that we are all endowed with an Inner Push that urges us on with our development at every age. Throughout their lives, people are always at some level in the development of their intelligence. (Cohen, G. D. (2005). The mature mind: The positive power of the aging brain. Basic Books.)

David Solie, in Unlocking the Communication Code of Seniors, states that developmental stages in life are characterized by sets of oppositional tasks that need to be completed so the individual can move on to the next stage. These tasks are the drivers of personality growth, the internal engine that propels a person forward. These stages and their tasks are well documented in children and teenagers. Their identification and impact on the development in old age has only recently been understood. When we fail to recognize the need to maintain control and identify legacy, Solie states, “Good advice may be rejected in favor of illogical or shortsighted choices because from a developmental perspective the need for control is greater than the need for medical, financial, or social correctness.”

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