It’s never easy coming to the decision that an aging loved one really does need extra support. Seeing the shift in roles from your parent being your caregiver to becoming theirs is one of life’s hardest transitions. If your aging parent is struggling to care for themselves, stepping in to help ensure they can age in place and maintain as much independence as possible is an important step to take in a timely matter. Talking to your aging parent about getting support is a tough conversation to have. We have some insights that can help make this important conversation go more smoothly. Here are 8 ways to encourage your aging parent to get help.
Know Your Options. Before starting the conversation do your homework and understand your options for providing extra support. Depending on the degree of support needed, it could be as simple as aligning resources for lawn care, house cleaning or grocery shopping. If mom or dad needs a little more support then private services may be a solution that will help them stay in their home. Home Healthcare may also be an option. If you are struggling to know when it may be time for extra support our blog 10 Signs A Loved One Need Extra Support can help.
Start Early. The conversation will be so much easier to start when it’s about the future. Stress that this is just a ‘What if’ conversation. Starting a conversation now about the future will be less intimidating making it easier to have a productive conversation that opens the door for future talks as their needs increase. If there is an immediate need for care, make the conversation about helping them keep their independence and age in place.
Share Real Life Examples. It will help give context to the conversation by sharing real life examples as to why you are concerned. Start by sharing a recent experience like “Remember when Mary from church fell and broke her hip. She ended up in rehab and then an assisted living. I don’t want that to happen to you and dad. I know how much staying at home means to you.” Or “Remember when Dad messed up his medications and ended up in the hospital? We were all so worried.”
Start Small. Big changes can feel threatening. Many older adults connect their self-worth to their ability to remain who they once were – fending for themselves by doing the chores they always have. Starting small will help them feel more comfortable and less like they are completely losing their independence. Start by finding a chore they’ve been complaining about like upkeeping the lawn and offer to hire someone to help. If they need more care, then care in the home may provide a solution that feels less life altering than a move into an assisted living.
Empathize with Their Reality. Before you ever consider starting the conversation, try and relate to their emotional perspective. They may be at a point in their lives when loss already defines so much of their existence. They are not as strong, mobile or healthy as they once were. They can no longer do the activities that had brought so much joy to their lives. They feel a shadow of their former selves. Acknowledge and let them talk about their feelings, help them talk about options that will enable them to maintain as much control as possible.
Ask. Don’t Demand. Your aging parent needs to feel included in making any decisions. After all, this is about their life. Help them to feel like they are still in control. Recognize that they have spent a lifetime being independent and making their own choices. Offer options, not advice. Telling them what they ‘have to do’ will most likely end in resistance and shut down any further consideration or conversation. Start by really listening and asking. Begin the conversation with asking them about how they see their future. What do they hope for when they consider their future? What is important in their lives not to lose? What matters most and what they are most concerned about changing?
Share Your Feelings. Share why it matters to you and to other loved ones. Speak from your emotional perspective, talk about your worries, fears and concerns for them. Share how the impact of accepting help can ease the stress, fears, and worries on you and their loved ones. Talk about your peace of mind.
Reframe The Conversation. Sometimes simply shifting their thinking away from losing their independence to taking steps to be in control can have a huge impact. Help them understand that taking these steps is not about losing their independence but about being proactive to empower their independence and age in place.
At Nurses & Company, we understand how overwhelming the process of finding the right care for your loved ones can be. Nurses & Company can help, our friendly staff can help you understand and navigate the best options available to ensure the best support for your aging parent. Even if you are just struggling to know when the right time is, reach out and speak to one of our advanced care planners. We’re here to help you regain peace of mind by helping you understanding the options available and when extra support may be the best answer to preserve your loved one’s wellbeing and independence. Contact us today for a no obligation assessment of your loved one’s needs.