Dad’s (91) appears frailer every day. I always tried to share my life and my family’s lives with him, but his need to control everything we did made our communications difficult. My husband says it’s time to make peace with Dad and my feelings before it’s too late. I’d like to tell him off and I want him to know I love him, but I’m (44) still intimidated.
You are not alone. Many caregivers retain strong feelings and mixed emotions about past relationships with parents. Your best bet is a therapist specializing in family matters who can help you understand your feelings and help you talk with Dad. If therapy isn’t an option, try creating a Memory Book that will help start the communications process and allow you to share your life with Dad without too many words:
Fill a photo album or scrapbook with old/recent pictures reflecting your life and your family history. Add pictures of places Dad may have visited or enjoyed mementos from high school, awards, a poem, or other keepsakes to help enhance your story. Decorate the cover with subjects Dad likes (sports, cars) or a family photo.
Sit with Dad to enjoy your communications book together. If you aren’t successful the first time, try again. If Dad does not respond to your overtures, you’ll have tried your best and that’s all you can ask of yourself.
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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