Dad (85), his COPD, Osteo Arthritis, and Hearing Loss all live with me. He’s cognizant and manages his own personal care, but his mobility is severely restricted due to pain, breathing issues, and muscle weakness. I work from home. Dad interrupts continuously throughout the day; “Sweetheart, I’m sorry to interrupt. Would you mind bringing me some water?”, “I’m sorry, could you get the newspaper (from the driveway)?”, “Fran, hurry! Kirstie Alley looks like she lost 100 pounds!”. Just about the time I regain my concentration, he does it again. I love him and want him here—help!
Saying “no” doesn’t mean you’re abandoning him or you no longer love him. Saying “No” means that except in emergencies, for which you’re available, you’re trying to set limits to help you maintain your quality of life and cope more effectively with your responsibilities. In fact, caregivers who learn to say “no” at the right times often are more effective caregivers.
Gently, with a smile and hug, set your first boundary with this conversation:
Dad, I’m going to my desk now and I need 30 minutes (1 hour, etc.) of uninterrupted work time to finish my project. What can I bring you before I go? Water? Chips? Do you have the phone?
You’re all set, Dad. Ok? See you in an hour.
Dad’s accustomed to your constant availability so it may take some time for him to adjust—don’t give up. Be gentle, loving, and firm. This is a retraining process and it’s worth the effort.
Judie Rappaport, President & Founder
Preferred Lifestyle Services
Trust Yourself. You Have the Knowledge, Insight,
and Power to make the right decisions for you and your parent. ©
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