In celebration of the new year, a group of my Boomer friends sat around the fire, chatting over a glass of wine. The topic that dominated the very passionate discussion wasn’t politics or sports — it was what to do about Mom and Dad. Nearly all of the friends around the circle were either going through or had gone through some experience of dealing with a deteriorating health situation or the decreasing ability of a parent.
Those who had already worked through the situation felt content with the decision they and their parent had made. Those who were still in the midst of the dilemma were filled with turmoil and experiencing a range of strong emotions. Here are some of those emotions and ways that marketers can successfully address them.
1. Fear. One of the strongest feelings adult children have is fear. “What will happen to Mom? If I do nothing, she may end up falling and injuring herself. If I press her to move into a senior living community, she may resent me for it.”
2. Guilt. Boomers often experience guilt about suggesting that Mom or Dad should give up driving or sell the family home.
3. Confusion. Adult children may be overwhelmed and confused by the number of services and living options available for seniors and the terminology used to describe them — home care, assisted living, adult day care, respite — and just can’t decide the right path to take.
4. Sadness. The adult child may feel sadness about his or her parent’s declining health or cognitive ability or even about selling the family homestead where so many wonderful memories were made.
5.Stress. Managing your own life is stressful enough and caring for an aging parent at the same time can exacerbate that stress. Many times caregivers get sick
6.Resentment. Boomer adult children can end up feeling resentful if siblings aren’t participating in their share of the caregiving for their parents.
7.Frustration. It can be extremely frustrating not to get clear answers to questions, not receive timely return phone calls, or encounter employees who are not fully educated about their product or service.
The Boomer caregiver may be experiencing some or all of these emotions as they search for the right solution for their parent’s situation. The best approach is to listen and let them know that you truly heard them, acknowledge their feelings, empathize and assure them that their emotions are perfectly normal, and offer clear and concise solutions that not only present the most positive outcome, but also benefit both the adult child and their parent.