Resist Punitive Perfection

Pointing out errors of memory or cognition to our aging parents proves nothing…Period…We all will suffer the same fate when we are firmly in their shoes and we will equally resent being called out for something we can’t control…Instead of shutting down the dialogue, opt to use kindness to frame a way to assist with the memory or cognition challenge…for example, with memory issues you might want to say ”I seem to recall you telling me that grandmother’s s best friend was Ellen.  Did I hear that right”..For cognition issues, you might want to say ”Why don’t we try the “source” button on the very top of the remote and see if that can help us figure out what’ going on?” It’s such a simple thing for us to do but for our aging parents, who are having their confidence  undermined at every turn, this gentle assist is a such a welcomed gesture that preserves dignity and dialogue.   

One response to “Resist Punitive Perfection

  1. Beautifully said, David. And also I want to remind you (and your blog readers) that aging is not the same as having cognitive challenges. We tend to meld them together. I wasn’t “elderly” when experiencing vascular dementia. My challenges couldn’t be addressed easily because I didn’t fit anybody’s picture of what that looked like in a person under a certain age. It was more likely to be seen as personality rather than an injury to which my body was learning to adapt. Because this happened to me at “atypical” ages, I have had the advantage of time to adapt. Age is definitely correlated with time. The older someone is, they lose the luxury of time to figure out how to adapt. Our challenge as families and communities is to better understand and teach each other how to stay connected with someone we care about when we can’t be reasonably be expected to know exactly what’s going on. Love your years of compassionate insight and support on helping us on that journey.

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