As promised, I’m here today to serve the action-oriented folks amongst you with practical strategies to survive the summer season with aging parents and/or other relatives. Last time, we focused a lot on the underlying feelings that get triggered when you spend more days or even hours together. Make that too much for many of you!
Indeed, 2018 American Automobile Association surveys expected an incredible 42 million U.S. residents to travel for the Memorial Day weekend and another 47 million for July the 4th. Yet, the typical American employee gets only 10 days of paid vacation per year.
At any rate, let’s dive into how to handle three likely configurations.
Parents Staying In Your Home
If you ‘must’ have your Un-cope-able Parents stay with you, can you spend even five minutes upon waking before having any interactions? Center yourself before you emerge from your bedroom. At night, let go of any pent-up frustrations so you can sleep peacefully and soundly. During the day, set very clear expectations and boundaries around your own family life so that your folks need to ‘fit in’ with your calendar and not the other way around. OK?
Visiting Your Parents’ Home/Hometown
Especially if this entails staying in the house you grew up, I suspect it will be layered with lots of not-always-happy childhood memories. In that case, you will need ample self-protection techniques to remain in that energy for any length of time (i.e., set up the space to make it yours, bring items that remind you of your healthy home, shut out parents from the room you retreat to). Better yet, why not stay in a nearby hotel?
Traveling Together to a Third Location
Once there, plan as many scenic outings in public as possible. Can you agree to have meals together but then separate for solo periods? Your elders can take naps in the meantime. Turn in early, claiming how demanding your work is and how urgently you need some recovery during your holiday. If your annoying relatives protest, do this anyway! As a caregiver, you cannot afford to return to the office as stressed as when you left it.
Why Are You Doing This Again?
Though I understand it’s probably too late to change this summer’s plans, the honest question that gets begged in my mind is why spend any of your precious vacation allotment with cranky aging parents?
If it has become an expectation, are you ready to dismantle this negative toll for next year? I can help. To find out how, I invite you to book a Confidential Strategy Session at https://www.copingwithuncopeableparents.com/coaching/