How to tell if you're a helicopter child to your aging parents

Health reporter Haley Hernandez shares tips on how to make sure you're not keeping too tight a grip on your aging loved ones.

How to tell if you're a helicopter child to your aging parents
  • “Be careful”
  • “Why are you going out by yourself, let me come with you”
  • “Sugar is bad for you, you know you aren’t supposed to eat it”
  • “Are you sure you want to spend money on that?”
  • “It’s cold out, you should be wearing a warmer jacket”
  • “When was the last time you took a shower?”
  • “If you would pay more attention to taking care of yourself, I wouldn’t worry so much”
  • “Did you take your vitamins/medications today? When?”
  • “What have you eaten today?”
  • “You’re not eating enough”
  • “You’re eating too much!”
  • “Are you cold/hot/sad/happy/anxious/sleepy/hungry/tired?”

Sound familiar? These are some of the things that became the hallmark of helicopter parents. You know – they hover. And well, yes, if someone is 9 years old, these are probably reasonable (if not annoying) parental suggestions.

It seems another form of helicoptering has developed, only now, adults are turning their attention in another direction -- to their aging parents! Often they are querying and supervising and advising and worrying about people who have lived for seven or eight decades with rich experience and wisdom. More often than not, their parents are perfectly capable of deciding if they want fish and vegetables for dinner or would prefer ice cream and tea. Maybe they don’t shower as often as they used to or want to buy a frivolous thing or two with their hard earned money. Maybe they have lost their fashion flair. It’s really none of your business. Or if you feel like it is, it is probably good to keep your opinions to yourself.

As an adult child, it may be hard to watch an aging parent make decisions with which you do not agree and it just feels imperative that you interject. Unless your parent has significant cognitive or physical issues that puts them at risk, you may simply be acting like a busybody and over-stepping your bounds with the person who raised you. You are not your parent’s parent.

There has been much conversation about this subject, which has garnered a good amount of media attention. Several of Senior Care Authority advisors around the country have been interviewed on various news and talk shows and have offered some suggestions to curb your helicopter tendencies.

Check out these videos for a perspective on handling your feelings of worry while maintaining good boundaries and respect for your elders!

Senior Care Authority - Houston

Senior Care Authority - San Antonio

Senior Care Authority - Phoenix

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How to tell if you're a helicopter child to your aging parents
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