Home Healthcare – is it time to have a discussion with your parents? Seeing someone you love become more forgetful or frail is difficult. After all, your parents were the ones that always took care of you. They comforted you when you skinned your knee, helped put you through college, and reassured you when you had problems with your own kids. So how do you have that difficult conversation when you think they might need help? While it may not be totally comfortable, FirstLantic offers some communication techniques that can make it easier.
Assess the situation.
If you have already tried speaking with your parents about home healthcare and run into a brick wall, take a step back and assess why they may be resistant. For many older people, seeking help is a step towards giving up some of their independence, and they may feel like once they make that decision, they can never go back. Understanding the root causes of your parents’ behavior can help you identify the best way to communicate effectively.
Don’t be condescending.
They are your parents, not your children. Don’t talk down to them. Just as you get irritated when your own kids make fun of your technology skills (or lack thereof), your parents will feel the same way if they feel they are being patronized.
While you may have been thinking about this home healthcare for a while, your parents may need some time to digest it. After all, you are asking them to acknowledge that they may need help and realize that by getting help, they are giving up some of their independence. You may need to delicately broach the subject several times before they are ready to listen.
Give them your full attention.
Don’t try to have this conversation as you are rushing to get your kids off to camp or when you have 50 things on your “to-do” list. This is not the time to be distracted, and it would be best if you had this conversation when you were calm and not in the middle of a stressful situation. If your parents feel this is just another thing to check off your list, they will be much less likely to be open-minded.
Make it about you.
If you explain to your parents how you would sleep better at night knowing they are well taken care of, they might agree to consider home healthcare. If they see that you worry about them being alone, adding more stress to your life, they may feel better about the decision because they are helping you.
Highlight the positives.
While giving up some control in your life is never easy, there are some perks. When we are younger, we often wish we didn’t have to cook, run errands, or clean up the house, but we probably couldn’t afford to get help. However, your parents could take advantage of that with a professional in-home caregiver. That person can also be a great companion for someone who might live alone and not have friends or family living in the area. At FirstLantic, we find that many of our clients become incredibly close with their caregivers and start thinking of them as family. That’s why your parents must be part of the decision-making and interview process of home health aides. Please look at this video of one of our clients and his caregiver as they talk about their friendship.
If your parents can still make their own choices, you will have to accept that it is their ultimate decision. You need to respect that, even if it is a different decision than you would make for them. They may need to take more time to come to the same realization. It can be frustrating, but you must remind yourself that you will get a lot further by having some patience and letting them take the time they need.
Test it out on a trial basis.
Your parents might be more amenable to the idea of getting help if they think of it as a trial. If they don’t like the caregiver or the idea of someone being in their home, they can always cancel the service. This provides an opportunity to show your parents that having a caregiver can benefit them (and you), and it might make them more open to receiving ongoing care.
If you’ve realized that your parents can no longer live safely on their own, you might have to suggest the idea of moving to an assisted living community. Our sister company, LiveWell Placements, provides a free placement service and will set up visits, personally accompany you on your tour, and even set up a lunch or dinner on-site. They can also arrange for your parent(s) to participate in one of the many classes offered. This might give them an idea of how an assisted living environment can help them remain physically and mentally active.
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