When talking to the children of aging parents, the first thing I try to emphasize is that patterns of decline they are seeing are not going to get better. So by waiting to put care into place one is just delaying the inevitable. It is very important to: Begin having talks early and frequently with the person who needs care. Since many children know how much their parent (s) is against the idea of accepting help, they avoid that conversation. And that’s just what your parents want you to do! But you cannot afford to avoid it or shy away from it. You have to send a firm but loving message that this issue is not going away and I am serious about developing a plan of action to keep you safe before a crisis occurs. Here are some tips that might help.
1. DO expect resistance and understand that it may take several conversations to get to the point of agreement.
2. DO understand that you must start this process EARLY! That way you have the time to spread out several talks and more time to let the idea sink in.
3. DON’T go into the conversation unprepared or thinking you can wing it. Get everyone together who will be present and have a clear agenda on how it will go.
4. DO make your parent the focus of all discussions and let her be totally involved (depending on mental capabilities)
5. DO voice your opinion using “I” statements
6. DON’T assess any blame and avoid using “You” statements
7. DO be very respectful of your loved ones opinion. You must give her time to express her thoughts and let her see you are really listening.
8. DON’T push or try to accomplish too much in that first conversation. The first one should stress the fact that you have noticed some things lately (be specific) that indicate she could use some assistance in the home and how much you love her and want her to be safe.
9. DON’T confuse being respectful with being “wishy washy”. As the conversations progress, you must be firm in your stance that she is no longer safe being at home by herself and because you love her, you cannot continue to let her be unsafe.
10. DON’T expect this to be easy. There may come a point where “tough love” comes in. Sometimes giving the option of “Nursing Home” or “staying in your own home, which you love, but with some assistance” is an excellent tool to use. When put in those terms sometimes a light bulb goes off and they realize how lucky they are that they can stay in their own home and don’t have to go into a nursing home!
Many times when your loved one won’t listen to you, they will listen to a 3rd party whom they respect and trust. As the owner of Heavenly Helpers Senior Care, I am pretty successful in reassuring loved ones that we are not about coming in and changing their life or ordering them around. I tell them it’s like having an assistant or a friend come in just to help you do the things you can’t. It’s as simple as that. I tell them it will open up their world-they can get out and do things or go places that they currently are unable to do-we are about increasing independence not taking it away!