Having “The Talk” With Your Aging Parents


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When your parent has difficulty completing everyday tasks or poses a safety risk, home care is an option for maintaining independence in their own home. To learn more about benefits of home care and types of senior homecare services please visit www.brightstarcare.com/senior-home-care.

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Having “The Talk” With Your Aging Parents

  1. 1. Having “The Talk” With Your Aging Parents Source: http://www.brightstarcare.com/st-croix-valley/2013/06/18/having-the-talk-with-your-aging-parents/ - By Sini Stjernswärd-Ross
  2. 2. When your parent shows signs of difficulty in completing everyday tasks or poses a safety risk to herself, home care may be an option that allows her to maintain independence while providing peace of mind for the family. Introducing the idea of hiring outside help to a parent can be a touchy situation.
  3. 3. Break the ice Most people are in denial about their health and think that they are “just fine” until crisis hits. A softer approach to the concept of accepting care is to talk about another’s situation. Share both positive and not-so-positive stories; ask your parents what they liked and disliked about those situations. Steer the conversation into the kind of care that they would prefer should the need ever arise. This conversation helps the family create a customized care plan that respects your parents’ wishes.
  4. 4. Realize it’s not about you It’s about them. Finding the right incentive eases the transition. I remember meeting with a caregiving husband and his wife. She was wheelchair-bound. He was exhausted and invited us to come in to set up weekly bath visits and respite breaks for him. She was upset that we were there until I asked, “What is your biggest fear about your health?” She answered that she didn’t want to land in a nursing home. As soon as I said that our goal was to help her stay out of the nursing home her attitude changed completely. Every time a caregiver came, she positively stated, “You are here to help me stay out of the nursing home.”
  5. 5. Ask your parents their preferences Do they prefer to age at home? Would they rather be in a community with social interaction? What are their fears and concerns about aging? Focus on listening with empathy; avoid the urge to tell them what you think they need.
  6. 6. Have your family physician write a “Prescription” Advice from the family doctor carries clout with the senior population. Share your concerns about your parents’ living situation, ability to perform normal “activities of daily living” and any health or safety concerns that you have. This information will help the physician get a complete picture of what your parents are experiencing.
  7. 7. Have a family meeting Bring in a neutral third party–a trusted friend, pastor, priest, rabbi or an elder social worker–to mediate the dialog and get input from your parents and family members. Having a third party lead the meeting helps to insure that everyone is engaged in the conversation and has an opportunity to voice their opinion in a safe and comfortable manner.
  8. 8. Observe and document Keep track of any instances of difficulty navigating normal activities and any safety issues that have occurred.
  9. 9. Nursing Assessment Many home care agencies offer nursing assessments, an opportunity for your parent to review medications and health and safety concerns they may have. The nurse could then offer ideas to address those concerns, including home care.
  10. 10. Find Quality Care Now Locate a BrightStar Near You! Find a location in Canada Find a location in the US