Improving Communication with Elderly Parents

posted in: Elder Care, Health | 0

Having a conversation with elderly parents about their care later in life can be very difficult. Where will they go, and who will be in charge of their care. There are many questions that need to be answered by both parents and adult children.

You will need to consider senior in home care, residential care services, and all the costs associated with them. Can you or your parents afford these services, can your parents afford to live at home or should they move into a care facility?

These issues may be difficult but must be discussed in order to adequately prepare for any upcoming changes.

Tips for Discussion

  • Plan to have your discussion when you know there won’t be any interruptions and you have plenty of time to have a thorough conversation.
  • Don’t dominate the discussion. Let your parents be clear about their concerns and worries, and work on solutions together.
  • Take your time. You don’t have to talk about every possible issue at one time.

Remember that these discussions are hard on your parents as well as yourself. They may be relieved to finally get their concerns addressed but they may also be in denial that anything needs to be talked about. Sometimes, parents can react with anxiety, fear or sadness. Don’t let the emotional nature of these issues prevent you from starting the conversation.

Handling Siblings

In a family with more than one adult child, there can be tension between siblings when it comes to managing care for an aging parent. Before approaching the parents, siblings need to discuss these issues between themselves to establish who will be taking charge in the matter.

Usually one sibling becomes the primary care giver as parents get older. Not necessarily a literal care giver, but at least one person should take responsibility for making the decisions on senior care.

Communication between siblings is important to keep anyone from feeling left out of the decision-making process, even if one person is handling the situation more directly.

And regardless of what specific approach your family decides on, don’t ignore the assistance that is available from various professional caregivers. Social workers, counselors and health care providers can all give you important help and advice while caring for elderly parents.

By: Evonne Collier

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