Having an open discussion about the wants and needs of aging parents before their needs escalate can prevent hospital visits, reduce caregiver burnout, and lessen the shock of lost independence. However, getting mom or dad to even have this conversation can be challenging. Realizing a parent needs help is emotional and, unfortunately, the topic of alternate care is often brought up only after a medical emergency.
Try these tips to help get your parents to the point where they say, “yes” to caring:
Seek the advice of a trusted professional. A physician can be your best ally in getting your parents to accept help. Alternatively, entrusting the advice of an outside expert can go a long way.
Hire a caregiver to manage some household chores instead of actual hands-on care or personal assistance. Oftentimes, this is seen as less threatening to a loved one’s independence and will serve as a means to “get the caregiver in the door.” Place the emphasis on getting help handling the chores such as vacuuming, laundry, grocery shopping and even meal preparation.
Give them a potential out. “Let’s try this for two months. If you still don’t like having someone help you with the chores, then we can consider other options.”
Show them the statistics. One out of every three seniors will fall this year, and almost all injury-related hospitalizations are the result of a simple fall. Chances are, they have already experienced a fall or two. Do they realize how serious this is to their chances of staying at home for as long as possible? Do they realize that a little bit of help may prevent these things from happening?
Ask them about their fears and their goals. Aging parents can be fearful that if they bring up the topic of home care with their children, their children will start to worry and place them in a nursing home. So the issue of getting help is never discussed. Instead, ask them what their fears are about getting older and then ask them what their goals and dreams are. This will give you a roadmap to start working together and help these goals and dreams come true.
It can be that simple. Once you’ve started the conversation with your parents, it really opens up the discussion to alternative forms of care.