Approaching Change With Your Aging Parents
Watching parents or other loved ones get older is an emotional challenge. While aging is natural and unavoidable, those who care for an aging loved one often experience anxiety and fear when it comes to discussing their changing health and subsequent needs. At Santé, we want to provide support to caretakers as much as we do for our patients. For this reason, we have compiled a list of things to consider when having a conversation with your aging parent regarding their changing needs.
Determine the Right Time
Sometimes, a recent incident provides the best platform on which to base your discussion. A safety concern can open the door to share your concerns and talk with your loved one about potential solutions or changes that need to be made.
Observe your aging parent or loved one on an ongoing basis to evaluate their ability to:
- Care for themselves
- Take their medication as prescribed
- Keep the house in order
- Prepare meals
- Use the telephone
- Manage their finances
- Find their way home
- Drive safely
- Remember important details.
Relinquish Your Fear
The primary factor that inhibits crucial conversations about aging is fear. Choose to trust that you have established a relationship with your parents or other loved one that is based upon your love and care for them and vice versa. You may be met with some resistance, but it is important to trust that your parent will know that your concern comes from a place of love and care.
Many aging adults shut down when long-term care or other lifestyle changes are mentioned. If you observe changes over time, you can start with a smaller, more welcomed recommendation like in-home care to assist with laundry and meals. As they begin to establish a relationship with their in-home care specialists, they often open their minds to other support services that might enhance their lives.
Finding the right words to communicate to your aging parent is important. You know your loved one best, but no matter what, it is essential to approach in a way that will resonate with them. Being honest and speaking from the heart can help. You may want to start with, “I’m having a really hard time talking about this, because I love you and it’s so important to me to keep you safe and still preserve our special relationship.” By sharing your own emotional experience, you can show them that you are on their team, experiencing all of the emotions together.
Whatever your concerns, and whatever your aging parent’s situation, taking care of their needs is a top priority. To learn more about how Santé can offer support for you both, contact us here.