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How to Have Difficult Conversations with Aging Parents in Need of Care

It can be heartbreaking as an adult child to see your parents become elderly and slowly start to lose their cognitive and self-care abilities. The situation becomes even more stressful when your parents don’t recognize these changes in themselves and insist that they don’t need any help.

While it’s understandable that you don’t want to hurt your parents’ pride, saying nothing about physical and/or mental decline can be a dangerous decision. For example, your father’s slowed reaction time may cause him to get into a car accident and injure another person. Your mother with memory issues may cause a fire in her own home by forgetting to turn off the stove. The time to have a candid conversation with your parents is before such a serious situation occurs.

How to Approach the Subject of Needing Help

Speaking to your parents about needing outside senior home care help before it becomes an issue is the best way to ensure that you can honor their wishes as much as possible. Open the lines of communication between parent and child as well as between siblings. Talking openly about these issues may not come naturally. Set a time for a family discussion and invite involved family to participate. This could mean discussing several sensitive topics such as:

  • Their recent medical history along with name and contact information of doctors
  • Their financial situation, including monthly income sources, bank accounts and other assets & liabilities
  • Types of insurance policies they have
  • Providing you or another trusted individual with advance directive including power of attorney, along with copies of critical documents such as a trust, last will and testament, and living will
  • How important is self-sufficiency and independence? How much intervention they prefer if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves.

This is also the best time to let your parents know that you would like to share observations about the possibility of needing help when the time comes. By having this conversation in advance, you will know what actions to take based on your parents’ own wishes. Remember to respect their privacy and dignity. Reassure them that sharing this information now is a back-up system for when something happens. Allow them to remain in charge as much as their abilities allow. For many families, professional home care is an excellent compromise.

Offer to Help Make Your Parents’ Home More Safe

Many people desire to remain in their own homes as long as possible. If your parents can still care for themselves while receiving senior home care assistance, one thing you can do is to make safety upgrades in their home. For example, installing a grab bar in the shower can reduce the chance of falls as can upgrading the lighting in your parents’ homes. Hire a lawn service or cleaning company to provide assistance weekly or twice a month.
Offering to pay for in home companion care services can relieve you of some burden, especially if you don’t live nearby.

Contact Arista Home Care Solutions for more tips on having difficult conversations with aging parents or to learn more about our services.