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tasks anyway, despite their protests,” says Shee Wai. “Allow them to do the chores with you, and after you’ve proven yourself ‘capable’, suggest that you take over from then on. If you persist, they might just give in, because, let’s face it, most elderly people do love being taken care of.”
You could also appeal to them emotionally, by telling them that it’d ease your mind to know that someone else is doing the tough chores for them. Or, say something like: “Your neighbour told me that you were struggling with your heavy grocery bags the other day. I feel like a bad daughter. Please allow me to fulfil my filial duties”.
Shee Wai says to avoid statements like “You can’t do it yourself”, “You’re
First, find out why they can’t bring themselves to throw something out. “Don’t expect them to throw everything away at once. Try to understand why they want to hang on to certain items.”
Then, it’s important to get them to see that you care about their physical safety. Explain that some objects are dangerous and pose a fire hazard. Discard these objects first, then compromise on the smaller things that have sentimental value.
But don’t try to change their thrifty mindset. If they have cupboards full of Tupperware that never see the light of day but that they just can’t bear to part with, don’t make an issue of it. “Know which battles to pick,” says Janice. HOW CAN YOU HELP THEM? Shee Wai says you should approach the matter with extra sensitivity, since it is your parents’ money. You might want to casually weave your questions into your conversations – for example, “Oh, you bought 4-D tickets again? Didn’t you just buy tickets last week? How much do you usually spend at a time?” This will give you an opening to discuss money matters with them.
Tell them that you’re concerned about their spending habits and don’t want to see them exhaust their savings. If they get defensive, remind them that they worked hard for their money and still have many more years to enjoy it.
You can also try to direct their focus towards more purposeful spending. Say something like, “Since we’re all going to Europe for the holidays, why don’t you save up to buy some winter clothes?” or “You’ve always wanted to take up ballroom dancing. Perhaps you should invest in some lessons”.
If you sense that your folks have been shopping out of boredom, help them use their spare time more effectively. Suggest that they sign up for a course at the community centre, do volunteer work or spend more time with their grandchildren.
WHY SO STUBBORN? Your parents may find it hard to let go of their independence and face the fact that they are not young and strong anymore, says Ho Shee Wai, registered psychologist and director of The Counselling Place. They might also be afraid that if someone takes over their chores, they will have nothing left to do and thus feel useless. HOW CAN YOU HELP THEM? When trying to convince them that they need help around the house, take the approach that they’ve worked h hard all their lives and deserve a rest. Tell them that they’ll still have control over the way things are done at home, but that their role will be b a more supervisory one. If they have issues about allowing a stranger to live in their house, compromise by hiring a part-time cleaner for them.
“If it’s you who’s offering to help them with the chores, get started on the