Communicating With Aging Parents: 4 Tips for Family Caregivers
You may have noticed that your parents or an aging loved one is starting to show signs that they are slowing down, or perhaps they have a prognosis that will say their health will decline in the coming months or years.
Having a conversation about their future and what that will look like is vital. It can be a complicated conversation for both sides to have. Compassion, empathy and listening will help make your loved one feel heard and understood. These might be some significant life changes they are going through.
We have 4 tips in this article to help you communicate with your aging loved one about what their future may look like and options for senior care.
4 tips for communicating with your aging loved one
Start the conversation
If you have been noticing that your parent seems to be declining health and are not able to do what they used to be able to do. It is time to open the conversation about needing help in the future. It doesn't matter your parents' age; many people tend to think they don't have to worry about these things because their parents are younger. People age differently, and when the time comes that they need help getting through the day and taking care of themselves, you don't want them or yourself to be blindsided.
Do not talk down to them
Please don't talk to your aging parents like they are little children who need to be coddled. Be straight with them. This approach will be much more appreciated than being spoken down to.
You want them to feel heard, respected, and not become defensive.
Here are some great tips for talking to seniors about care options and how to approach the conversation from a communication standpoint.
Promote their independence
Preserving your aging loved one's independence should always be a top priority. Talk to them about what is important to them that they continue doing for themselves for as long as possible.
You can talk to an in-home care agency about ways to keep your loved one as independent as possible. Maybe they need help doing their laundry and putting it away, but your loved one can still fold the laundry when it comes out of the dryer. They may need help getting in and out of the bath but are able to wash once in the tub or shower. It might not seem very significant to you, but preserving as much independence as possible is essential, even if it's just small things they can do for themselves.
It is essential to remember that your aging loved one has been independent for years. Imagine being in their position to help you understand how they are feeling.
4. Reach out for help
Communicating with your aging loved one about possibly needing more help around the house or performing their daily tasks isn't an easy conversation.
Reaching out to an in-home care agency can help provide you and your loved one with the support and the tools needed to have these conversations and come up with solutions that everyone is comfortable with.
You can also lean on your community for support. You may know someone who is dealing with a similar situation. These people will be great to talk about how they communicate with their loved ones. There is a lot of support available for your aging loved one, as well as for the family to lean on when in times of need. Be sure to ask for help when you need it.
It can be hard to communicate with your aging loved one about what the next steps are for them. Especially if it requires some significant changes, these conversations are best to be had sooner rather than later.
Remember to keep communication open between you and your loved one, don't talk down to them, keep their independence at the forefront of the conversation, Take the whole situation into account, and ask for help and the support you need, when you need it.
Interested in learning more about Comfort Keepers in-home care in Osseo, MN, and the surrounding area? Call our team today at (763) 400-8653