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Discussing Long-Term Care with Your Parents

It can be a difficult subject to approach, particularly when your parents have led such independent lives and want nothing more than to continue doing so. As we grow older, things get more difficult. Our mobility decreases, there could be memory issues, and there could be serious health problems ranging from arthritis to heart disease and cancer to cope with.

The truth is that many families don’t discuss long-term care options until something ‘catastrophic’ happens that forces everyone into action. It’s generally something that parents don’t like burdening their children with and something which children, in turn, are reluctant about bringing up.

As a home care provider we know how important it is to discussing long-term care with your parents and try to find a way forward. Adult children often feel guilty about discussing such things, perhaps believing that they should provide this kind of support themselves.

Here are some of our tips on approaching the difficult subject of caregiving for your parents.

  1. First of all, having that first conversation requires you choosing the right time and place. It’s best to avoid emotional periods such as holidays and a good idea is having your discussion outside the family home. Perhaps head out to breakfast or lunch or pick a neutral location where you can focus on the issue and talk about it honestly.
  2. You normally can’t force help onto parents but you can get them to begin thinking about long term care by asking the right questions. It’s best to let them try and reach a decision on their own terms and this can include asking a parent about what would happen if they had a fall or if their memory gets worse. If your mom or dad’s goal is to stay in the family home, then giving them the options to do just that is also a good place to start.
  3. Doing your research is also important. There are plenty of different ways in which support can be provided for your parents that help them stay at home and allow them to live a full life. Having options such as home care can mean that seniors feel less under threat and are more likely to agree to a small amount of intervention that is designed to make their lives easier.
  4. You really can’t dictate to seniors – they’ve lived most of their lives being independent. If you put yourself in their shoes, you’ll probably agree with their point of view anyway. If you have done your research, though, pointing out the benefits of options such as home care at least gives them something to think about and fall back on if they eventually need it.
  5. Finally, it can be difficult to keep your own personal ego out of things but that’s just what you have to do – don’t forget that your Mom or Dad are adults not children. You may have to raise the subject of care on a number of occasions and find the right way in. Talking to friends in similar situations can help as can paying a visit to a home care agency for their advice on how to approach the subject of care. Obviously, it depends on your family dynamics and some situations are easier than others. If you have brothers and sisters then it is a good idea to get them involved, even if they are living some distance away.

We hope you found this article on discussing long-term care with your parents informative.  If you have any questions about long term care planning or you want to discuss our non-medical home care services, contact All Heart Home Care at 619-736-4677.  We would love to come to your home and discuss the many home care options available!

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