“Mom, we need to replace the carpeting” I said. “No, it’s fine” she replied. “But its old and it needs to be replaced.” I continued, “I would love for you to have the new carpeting – something to give the home a lift.” I was trying to be encouraging and bubbly.
“You are not going to spend my money or your money and replace this carpeting. It’s fine. I vacuum it. It’s fine.”
The question is, when is what you call helping not really that helpful to your aging parent? You see a dirty carpet. She sees the carpeting that her late husband helped to install all those years ago. You see worn out and old. She sees reassurance of something familiar. Who is right?
Both of you are right.
In our case, we would love to replace the carpeting in our mother’s home. The cost is not extravagant, and there is no question in our minds that it would be cleaner and probably healthier for her to have the old carpet out. We are not insisting that the carpeting be removed, but we would like to see the change.
We know that Mom is not as clear about the health risks as she was in her younger days, so we are weighing the benefit with the risks. One of the risks, which I am trying to raise here, is the “elephant in the corner.” No one wants to feel like they have lost control of their own house, their own destiny, or their own life. By insisting on removing the carpeting, we will be taking away control of one more little piece of mom’s independence. And that loss may be worse than the advantages of a clean floor.
Be sure that the changes you are insisting upon are in Mom’s best interests in more than just financial or health-related ways. Give your aging parent the dignity they deserve. . .
Please contact Mateya Law Firm to help you with your estate planning and administration needs.
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