5 Ways to Talk to Aging Parents about Home Care
Your parents have been your family’s source of strength for your entire life, from birthdays to graduations, new job celebrations to family vacations. Now you’re the one who must assume a more active role in their care. This can be an uncomfortable conversation for many of us, especially if home care may truly be the only realistic option at this point.
Many seniors are inherently resistant to the idea of someone else coming to their home to assist them on a daily basis, but you know that it is the best course of action to keep your parent supported and safe. Here are some tactics that may help ease the conversation between you and your aging parent:
1. Don’t take it personally: The resistance will likely be there, but that doesn’t mean your parent is directly angry at you. It requires a big mental shift to come to terms with needing help with daily tasks. This is something that home care professionals are highly adept at working through with clients. Instead, understand that any verbal hostility is likely just misguided frustrations.
2. Focus on “you,” not them: By positioning a home care agency as potentially being a big help to you, the child, it will minimize the perceived imposition on the aging parent. Parents tend to feel guilty about their children having to pick up extra work around the house. By simply suggesting that an extra helping hand may allow you to spend more time with your kids, worry less, and help support your busy life, they may be more open to listening.
3. Partner with the more proficient parent: If both parents are still in the home, decide which one is more independent, then review options one-on-one first. By talking with them about how a home care agency could benefit the less independent person in the home, they may be more open to accepting help. You know your parents best, so decide who this person is and show them the benefits of a home care professional.
4. Start small: Though some aging parents may have significant needs that have to be addressed right away, many can become accustomed to the sights and sounds of a home care professional in the home when you start small. Instead of a new person in the home assuming most of your parent’s daily responsibilities from the outset, task the home care worker with something simple – laundry perhaps, or maybe a daily quick cleaning of the home. Or hire a home care worker as a driver, allowing the aging parent to make decisions as to where they are headed and what they want to purchase.
5. Rely on a professional’s advice: If your parent’s doctor, nurse, or even high-ranking member of their church or community organization can help you deliver honest advice, you may have a better chance of pointing your loved ones in the right direction. You’d be surprised at how willing some people are to quickly accept the input and guidance of a professional.
Remember that this is a big change for your aging parents, and you shouldn’t expect them to immediately go along with your ideas. You’ll likely have to strike up a dialogue earlier than you planned, then continue to talk openly about your plans to support them as they age in place.