Talking to elderly parents

Home Care for the elderly

If you have noticed somebody close to you, especially a parent, is showing the signs of needing help at home, you have probably worried about how to approach sensitive subjects such as health and finances.

For the adult children of parents who are having difficulty living at home independently, this can cause an uncomfortable role reversed. You want to make sure that those close to you are safe, but you don't want to treat your parents like children and you know your parents don't want to be viewed as unable to care for their own needs.

While it can be difficult to talk to loved ones about their need for home care, putting off the conversation can mean waiting until it's too late and then dealing with emergency situations such as illness or injuries.

It is important to keep the lines of communication open with your loved ones to best determine their needs and desires for home care.

Here are some tips for communicating with those close to you so that everyone benefits:

Start talking now, don’t put it off. You will have more time, more options and a better chance of helping them continue to live at home if you address issues before they become serious problems.

Ask questions and listen. While talking with your parents and the family, discuss what you have observed, making sure to ask questions about what they think is causing problems and what they see as potential solutions.

Address your parents as you would any other adult. If you are patronising or speaking to them like they are children, you will appear disrespectful and will most likely put them on the defensive. You need your parents to work with you to find solutions. You are all on the same team.

Emphasize that you wish for them to remain independent. What most older adults fear most is losing their independence. If they know that you want to help them maintain their independence, they will be more likely to talk to you about your concerns and be willing participants in finding solutions.

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