Our last three blogs have been focused on helping you identify warning signs that some extra care may be needed for your elderly loved ones. If you’ve now determined that Mom or Dad could benefit from a helping hand, the next step is to discuss your feelings with him or her. And from our experience, this can be tricky. No one wants to feel as though they’re incapable of taking care of themselves, and a sense of denial and defensiveness is common.
To make for a smoother conversation, try some of these tips:
- Approach a loved one with a sense of planning to find a solution rather than trying to enforce your predetermined decisions. Discuss what you have observed using concrete examples and ask your loved one what she thinks is going on. Then ask what she thinks would be a good solution.
- Make suggestions rather than demands. If driving is a concern, suggest the avoidance of driving at night or when the roads are slick. If there is a medical concern, suggest an appointment with a physician “just to check it out to relieve my concerns, although it may be nothing.”
- If you have siblings, it may be helpful to involve them in the conversation. Be careful, however, not to give the feeling of “ganging up” on a parent or being overbearing.
- Talk when you and your loved one are at your best and try a new approach if the first one doesn’t work. If things start to break down or tempers flare, then try the discussion another time.
- If you have an open and direct relationship, just come out and tell him that you’d like to talk about these issues and ask if he would mind talking about them.
- Try first talking about someone else you know that is already dealing with some aspect of aging or long-term care. Talking about what’s good or bad about that person’s situation can be a useful launching point.
After the initial conversation, don’t expect that a decision will be reached instantly. It’s important to give your loved one some time to absorb the information you share. It is equally as important to really listen to your loved one’s wishes and concerns.
For more tips on talking with your elderly parents about the need for in-home care, or when you’re ready to take the next step and arrange for caregiving services, call Heaven at Home. Our caregivers are fully trained, background checked, and carefully matched to each of our clients’ interests and personalities. You can reach us any time at 866-381-0500.