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How to Start the Conversation about Caregiving

By Dian Brannen, 8:00 am on

One of the hardest conversations that family may have with an elderly loved one often focuses on the need for help or care at home. Watching mom or dad struggle to complete activities of daily living or other tasks can be heart-wrenching. Often, one parent may try to compensate by helping the other, leading to a decline with that parent as well. Although broaching this topic can be difficult, there are ways to go about it that can make your aging parent or parents feel more comfortable and at ease.

Keep Timing in Mind

Timing can be everything when trying to discuss a sensitive subject such as professional care for an aging adult. Picking a time when your parent is at ease, has few distractions and is not obviously stressed can be of importance. Those around can play a role in how receptive mom and dad are too. Before initiating the conversation, your parent should be in a comfortable environment such as his or her home.

Starting the Conversation

Asserting that your parent(s) need help is not always the right way to go about it. Your loved one may feel threatened by such statements, as though they are being ridiculed or belittled. Making an open ended observation in a non-obtrusive manner may help open up the lines of communication. For example, a statement such as “hey mom I noticed” that is followed by acknowledging that others may have these same difficulties may help dispel the notion that they are being judged.

Managing Emotions

Emotions are significant when it comes to decision making, and discussing professional caregiving can stir up many emotions for the family and the elder. Acknowledge these feelings, knowing ahead of time that they may not always be pleasant. Your loved one needs to know you are listening to his or her concerns. This can be achieved by repeating what your parent has said and describing how these thoughts make you feel. As a result, you will be able to minimize angry outbursts and allow talking to continue, despite differences in opinion or resistance.

Giving Parents Control

For many seniors, asking for help can symbolize a loss of independence. However, with today’s in-home care, seniors can choose the exact type of care they want, on a schedule that works best for them. For instance, Home Care Assistance offers part-time care in the Lehigh Valley, providing seniors and older adults with reliable and compassionate assistance at home on an as-needed basis. This type of flexible care schedule enables seniors to maintain a sense of control, regular routines and most importantly, independence and dignity.

To learn more about in-home care or to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation, call 484-350-3874 and speak with a friendly Care Manager from Home Care Assistance of the Lehigh Valley.