When “Little Changes” Cause Everything To Fall Apart

There are no “little” changes in the world of aging parents. Any action, throwing out old magazines, scheduling an appointment without telling them, or not including a sibling in what seems a minor decision can trigger a temporary system shut down. This is the innate volatility of complex family systems. To expect anything else is to make an already challenging situation nearly impossible. 

Use this fact of the system’s immutable instability to set realistic expectations for all parties involved in the drama of aging parents. No amount of planning, effort, or hyper-vigilance can overcome this disproportionate law of “no little changes.”  If you are defining success as an adult child in terms of preserving system stability, then the odds of being successful are close to nil. 

Better to define success in terms of caregiver aikido skills, meaning how well you flex, adjust, and re-channel the predictable upheaval of disproportionate events until they run their course. This gives you a fighting chance to reduce the impact of irrational dramas that take a nasty toll everyone who gets in their way.

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