There may come a time when adult children have to step up and take on a part of the parental role for their parents. To make the transition a smooth one and to help senior parents accept a helping hand, follow these four tips:
Rule out cognitive function issues first. As people age, it’s common to experience decreased brain function that can affect logical decision-making. Cognitive impairment can sometimes be reversed (as in the case of delirium from an illness or hospitalization, malnutrition from a poor diet, or depression). Or, there may be an underlying problem such as Alzheimer’s or dementia . If cognitive problems are suspected, get help from the physician.
Listen to, consider, and validate your parents’ perspective. Emotions can run high when it comes to debating the need for help. Utilize active listening so that everyone involved in the conversation knows that they’ve been heard. Having a mediator, such as a therapist or facilitator or a geriatric care manager, can also help keep the discussion moving and productive.
Discuss goals, and try to compromise. Common goals of aging parents include staying at home as long as possible, staying in control of their daily lives, maintaining quality relationships with loved ones, and keeping pain and suffering to a minimum. Surprisingly, safety may not be a top priority, especially if it conflicts with independence. Compromising may be necessary to come to decisions that are acceptable to both you and your parents. The important thing is to validate what is most important to the aging parent first, and try to accommodate for that. It may not be the same priority for all.
Separate your needs from those of your parents. While difficult to admit, sometimes our intentions for our parents stem from an underlying issue, such as guilt, sibling conflict, a need for control, or simply fear of the many unknowns that occur as our parents age. Create a list of your own fears and wishes about your parents, and then try to address those while honoring your parents’ goals as well.
Read the full article written by Leslie Kernisan, MD, a San Francisco geriatrician, for more tips on helping your senior parents accept the need for help as they age.
To learn more about home care services and how experienced caregivers can help your parents age comfortably at home—from light housekeeping to transportation to personal care—the experts at Heaven at Home can lend a helping hand. Serving the Denton and Dallas areas, we can compassionately serve your needs. Contact us at 866-381-0500 for more information, or fill out our online contact form and let us know how we can help. A helping hand is just a reach away.