Talking to senior parents about their health and living situation can feel quite daunting for many children. It feels this way because it is a significant shift in the parent-child dynamic. The child is worried about the parent’s ability to care for themselves in their home. The parent can feel like they are losing their independence and control over their lives.
However, it doesn’t have to be a daunting conversation. By using a few of the simple communication strategies outlined in this article, you can make tough conversations with your parents much easier. You will be able to ensure your parents understand the options open to them and gets the help they need.
The challenge of talking to senior parents
To make conversations with aging parents easier, it is important to understand their viewpoint. This will give you the ability to deal with any concerns they may have.
Older adults’ value their independence and the control that they have over their lives. After all, they have been adults for a very long time! Most older people believe that being placed in an assisted living facility or receiving in-home care may threaten their independence and the ability to control their lives.
For many seniors, the effects of aging are already taking away their ability to do some of the things they enjoy. They may already feel like they are losing some control over their lives.
Some seniors can also feel embarrassed about asking for help. They believe they should have the skills necessary to take care of themselves and feel especially uncomfortable asking their children for assistance. They don’t want to be a burden on their children. Seniors who feel this way are often very stubborn — they think they are doing their children a favor by not accepting help.
If your parents are feeling like they are losing control or stoically refusing help, taking control by force will not work. You will only make them upset, which may delay your parents getting the help they need.
A simple and effective approach
When talking to your parents about these issues, it is always important to listen carefully to what they say. Sometimes you will have to read between the lines to discover what your parent is really concerned about. Here are a few tips for convincing your parents to get the assistance they require:
Tell your parents you want them to retain control
Your parents must always feel like they have the ultimate say in what happens in their lives. At the start of any conversation about caregiving or assisted living, remind them that they have the last word on the issue. Your parent needs to know that you are on their side and not forcing them into something they are not quite ready for.
Discuss any specific issues that concern you
The best way to convince your parents that they need some help is by pointing out areas of concern. For example, if your parent is struggling with domestic duties in the home or cooking nutritious meals for themselves, you could remind them that help is available.
They may be hesitant to ask for help from you, because they don’t wish to be a burden. To get around this, you could suggest hiring a private caregiver to visit their home a couple of times a week.
Regularly mention how their well-being affects your happiness. After all, if you are not certain that they are safe in the home, you will be constantly worried. Many parents only obtain help when not doing so causes stress for their children.
Share some ideas on how your parents can get help
When possible, offer your parent a few alternatives for getting the help they need. If they require help around the home, suggest a local community group, professional home care provider, or a family member. Help them understand the benefits of each solution then give them the final say on which option to pursue.
Tell your parents that you want them to remain independent for as long as possible. Explain that obtaining some help in their home will allow them to do so.
Remember that it takes time
Convincing your parents to get some help isn’t a quick conversation. Be prepared to spend many weeks or months talking about the issue. However, by using the strategies mentioned in this article, you will be able to convince your loved one much sooner.
We hope you found Communicating with Senior Parents useful. If you would like to learn more about the home care services that All Heart Home Care provides, contact us today on 619-736-4677.