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As our parents age, it’s natural for us to be more concerned about their well-being. Are they living safely in their home? Is it time for them to give up their car keys? Have they made their medical wishes known to their doctor and family members?
Starting a conversation about these topics can be awkward, in part because family roles have shifted. As a youngster, you had to listen to your parents giving advice and may have chosen to ignore their counsel at times. Now you want them to hear your concerns. Additionally, these are sensitive topics, where intentions can be easily misunderstood – parents may mistake a concern for their well-being as an attempt to erode their independence.
But when your loved one’s safety is at stake, the alternate to not having a conversation could have disastrous consequences. Experts agree that the best time to have such conversations is before a crisis occurs. A series of smaller conversations – over a cup of coffee or a leisurely lunch – can pave the way to consensus on actions to take in the future.
Here are some tips on how to have “the conversation” with your parents about considering home care.
It’s likely many of your parents’ friends are experiencing similar challenges. If your mother mentions a friend who is having difficulty taking care of herself, ask her how she’s getting along and what she would think about having some help around the house.
Many people are resistant to allowing a total stranger into their home. Understand this concern and embrace a spirit of compassion and respect. Change is hard for most people and can be particularly hard when it means acknowledging getting older and having to adjust to new realities. Show your parents that you understand their concerns and that your greatest wish for them is for their optimum well-being.
Many families have past events and incidents that create hard feelings. Avoid these topics and much as possible and instead, stay focused on the future and what’s in your loved one’s best interest moving forward.
While you may be primarily interested in your parents’ safety, they may be more interested in retaining their independence. Stay open and really listen to their concerns and then work with them to find a solution that meets everyone’s objectives. Emphasize that having some home care may actually increase their independence by allowing them to let go of daily tasks and concentrate on the things they really enjoy doing.
If you’re meeting resistance, offer to do some research on home care companies and collect information to show your loved one exactly what a positive impact care services could have on their life. Encourage your parent to try it out for a week or two and meet a few caregivers. Make your parent understand that they are always in control and if it’s not working out, you can revisit the conversation.
If your loved one is stubborn in receiving help we would be happy to meet with you or your parent to discuss ways in which your parent might be willing to accept some additional help. We have flexible shift offerings, great rates, and the industry’s best caregivers. We can meet with you or your parent to explain how even a short 90 minute shift once a week might help them out and get them used to services. Give us a call at 206.785.3622 to start the conversation