What if aging parents don’t have the will to make the effort?
Dr. Bud doesn’t feel comfortable with “don’t have the will.” Instead, he says,
“It’s a style of encountering challenges. Some people are more can-do oriented and respond to change and challenges with determination. Others have difficulty.
“The latter may respond with feelings of overwhelming damage–making the damage seem even worse than it is; or they may be struggling with challenges or already coping to maintain equilibrium–to maintain balance.
“They may respond with pessimism–“even if I do, I won’t (or it won’t) get better.” Lacking other good things going on in their lives, trauma becomes another negative event. These negatives accumulate, can overwhelm. And they give up.
“For others–the doers–they think “challenge to overcome.” Therefore, they try new ways to cope (for example, with loss of a spouse, a medical situation etc.).
“Some search for an optimistic view when called upon to cope with frustration and disappointment. Indeed learning to cope (coping skills) starts early. At this time of year we can think about high school seniors getting–and having to handle–rejection letters from college admissions offices.
Bottom line: Some people have better coping mechanisms. And some who don’t, need support–not criticism.”
PS. Even for elders who have always been giver-uppers, introducing hope can’t hurt. Dr. Bud and I want to add that as we try to help parents age well.