Role re­ver­sal

Orlando Sentinel - - EXTRA HEALTH & FITNESS -

When her par­ents de­cided to move to an apart­ment, Brown was con­fronta­tional. “I raised my voice and said, ‘This is not good, this is ter­ri­ble,’ ” she said. “They were shocked, but they said ‘It doesn’t mat­ter; this is what we’re go­ing to do.’ ”

Brown re­al­ized she thought her par­ents would be safer and have a more “gen­tle” death in the re­tire­ment com­mu­nity: “Then it oc­curred to me: This wasn’t what my par­ents wanted. They val­ued their in­de­pen­dence. It’s their de­ci­sion about how the end of life plays out.”

Brown let her par­ents know she’d re­spect their wishes but would need to set lim­its. Her work — Brown is the founder of www.Care­Giv­ — had to be a pri­or­ity, and her par­ents would need to ar­range other as­sis­tance if she couldn’t be avail­able. (Brown’s two broth­ers and sis­ter help out.) And they’d have to be will­ing to talk openly about how their choices were af­fect­ing her.

What doesn’t work: try­ing to com­mu­ni­cate when any one of them is tired or an­gry. “We never get any­where,” Brown said. “Ev­ery­body gets de­fen­sive and shuts down.”

What does work: “ask­ing them ques­tions like how do you think we should try to solve this prob­lem? It’s in­ter­est­ing to hear their answers, and it makes work­ing to­gether so much eas­ier.”


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