When to Have “The Talk” With Your Parents

When to Have “The Talk” With Your Parents

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Are you wondering when to have the talk with your parents? The one about getting them some assisted living. It’s not easy conversation, but it shouldn’t be avoided.

When is it time to approach your parents about needing help around the house?

Is it time to bring in a home care caregiver?

It’s difficult to watch parents who used to be youthful and vibrant lose the ability to do tasks they once could do with ease. Housework begins to be neglected and you worry they’re not eating right. Most of all, you worry about their safety in their own home.

happy elderly man_freedigitalphotos.netFortunately, older adults don’t have to choose between living at home without assistance or a nursing home. There’s an option that’s growing in popularity – home care. How is home care different? It gives seniors who are still in reasonably good health the ability to live at home and still have assistance. Research has shown that up to half of all residents in nursing homes could safely live at home if they had someone to check on them, help them with activities of daily living (ADL) and transport them once driving has become an issue.

Parents who are in reasonably good health are fortunate. They don’t need round-the-clock care. Instead, they need someone to help with activities of daily living (ADL) like shopping, meal preparation, light housekeeping, and, if necessary, dressing and bathing. You know with this type of assistance, your parents are still able to live independently. Plus, you won’t have to worry about whether their needs are being met.

When to Have “The Talk” With Your Parents

Your parents have always prided themselves on their independence and ability to care for themselves and may not be as receptive to the idea of home help as you are. Here are some tips to help you approach the topic with them in a non-threatening way?

  • Make it clear from the start that you have their best interests in mind. Let them know you want them to have more free time to enjoy life. Remind them that housework, meal planning and preparation take time, and home care relieves them of that worry so they can enjoy doing the things they love to do the most. Make a verbal list of some of the things they enjoy that they have less time to do because of their responsibilities around the house.
  • Most importantly, speak to them with respect and dignity when you broach the topic, and avoid being condescending or showing you don’t think they’re capable of being self-sufficient. Explain that help at home gives them more freedom to enjoy life. Let them know you want someone to help them regularly when you can’t be available.
  • The last thing older people want after they have spent years in control is to give up their independence. Many are in denial and don’t want to accept the fact that they are aging. Let them know they’re still in charge and that you respect their opinions. Listen carefully to their responses when you bring up the topic of home care and repeat any objections back to them to show you understand and are listening. After explaining the benefits of home care, give them a chance to think about it. Bring the topic up again in a few days after they’ve had time to consider the option more carefully.
  • What if your parents are still resistant to the idea when you talk to them again? Acknowledge their objections and address each one in a rational manner. Remind them again about the benefits home care offers. If there are other family members or close friends your parents respect or a clergy person or doctor they hold in high esteem, ask if they would feel comfortable talking to your parents. Sometimes children carry less sway than close friends, doctors and members of their church or community. Emphasize that this is a move to give them MORE independence, not less, by taking away some of the routine tasks they do each day.

Here’s a link to a questionnaire with some red flags you should look for.

Fortunately, many older people enjoy the benefits of home care once they see the burden it lifts from their shoulders and the extra time it gives them to pursue other interests. It’s a way for aging adults to GAIN freedom – and that’s the point you want to get across. Remind them of the many years they have left and the importance of spending it doing what they enjoy. Most people can identify with that.

We hope these tips help you better know when to have the talk with your parents. Don’t stall – Take this important step as soon as you see a need.