If your elderly parent’s usually spotless house is beginning to look a little worse for wear or personal hygiene has taken a backseat in recent months, it could be indicative that your parent is struggling with daily routines and it may be time they had some assistance.
Broaching the subject of care options with elderly parents is difficult. Many are reluctant to acknowledge their limitations and refuse to accept that they might need some outside help to help with their day-to-day activities.
But it is something that we have to do to make sure your parent is getting the support they need. This article will offer guidance on how to broach the subject in a way that won’t embarrass or discourage your loved one and what to do if they are still reluctant to accept help.
Read more about what help is available and how caregivers can make a difference to your loved one’s life at Landmark Health.
Broaching a sensitive topic like care shouldn’t be done spontaneously in the moment (or even worse, in an argument). Before the conversation take the time to prepare.
Know what type of care is available and have an idea about what kind of care you think your loved one would benefit from. Do they need someone to come into their home and help them with their routines? Or would they benefit from assisted or active senior living accommodation?
If you are in control of your parent’s finances, calculate what they can afford. If their budget does not stretch to care, have a conversation with siblings over what financial assistance they can provide before you broach the subject with your parents. If you can present them with an option that is within their budget and with clear calculations of how the care will be financed, it will neutralize their argument that they can’t afford it.
Broaching the Subject
When broaching the subject, do it in person where possible and ensure there are no other distractions. Treat them like an adult and don’t talk down to them. It is their life you are talking about and they have a say in what happens to them.
Ask questions about what they want. Broaching the subject should be a conversation not a soliloquy. Ask if they think they would benefit from assistance. Don’t interrupt them and listen to anything they have to say on the matter.
Try to put yourself in their shoes, but at the same time, get them to understand that by not accepting help, they are increasing your workload and adding to your responsibilities.
Selling the Idea
If they are reluctant to accept help, you may have to sell the idea to them. You should have the pros of receiving care already listed out.
Emphasize that they will keep their independence. This is often their biggest concern. Let them know that accepting care will actually help them remain independent. By having assistance for their chores, they are free to do as they please without spending time maintaining their living accommodation.
Framing care as an extra pair of hands to help around the house is often one way of bringing stubborn parents around to the idea.
Also, emphasize that having somebody else around the house will give them a friendly face to chat to. Many elderly people don’t receive a lot of social stimulation and although they may not like the idea of a caregiver, they may like the idea of having someone to talk to throughout the day if they get lonely.