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How to Prepare for “The Talk” About Senior Home Care

While growing up our parents were there to give us loving advice geared towards making smart decisions. Some of those conversations were difficult, and the choices hard. Now the roles are reversed, and you find yourself in the unenviable position of needing to discuss senior home care with your aging parents.

You’ve noticed lately that mom and dad simply aren’t taking care of themselves and their household like they once did, and that they oftentimes seem tired. They love their independence and want to stay in their home, and you want that too. But you’re anticipating denial from your parents, and they could even get defensive.

Carefully preparing for “The Talk” about senior home care with your parents takes some thought ahead of time.

Carefully preparing for “The Talk” about senior home care with your parents takes some thought ahead of time. To ensure a more positive and productive discussion, follow these steps beforehand.

Put Yourself in Their Shoes

According to a recent study by the AARP, 90% of seniors desire to stay in their homes, also known as “aging in place”. In addition to their independence, seniors want to continue enjoying relationships with family and friends. Pride is also a factor, as it’s hard to admit they can’t take care of themselves when they’ve nurtured others their entire lives. An example of this later in life is when one spouse has declining health and their partner takes care of them, which can be exhausting. If mom or dad has been diagnosed with something like dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, conduct some advanced research to help you understand what they’re both experiencing, and what lies ahead. Two great resources for this include Elder Care (ElderCare.com) and the National Council on Aging (ncoa.org).

Before planning a sit-down with your parents, discuss your observations with siblings and other family members, and seek their unified support while keeping it confidential until it’s time for “The Talk”. Share what type of daily or weekly assistance you think your aging parents need. Then decide who will be joining you when sitting down with your parents, but avoid a large group as that could be perceived as “ganging up” on them. One final approach is to get advice from others who’ve gone through the same situation. In the end, taking these precautions will help guarantee a more productive senior care conversation with your parents.

Anticipate Their Objections

You’ve compiled a list of family members who’ll be joining you for “The Talk” about senior care with your parents. Contact your parents and tell them you need to discuss something important, and plan to meet in a non-threatening setting like their home’s living room or kitchen table. Prior to the meeting, consider objections that your parents might raise, like:

  • Why you think they need home care
  • Who will provide the care?
  • Having a stranger in their house
  • Losing their independence
  • The cost of senior home care

When you have “The Talk”, it’s crucial to avoid feelings of frustration, accusation or anger. A great way to present the idea is to mention that you’ve noticed they might be having some difficulties in carrying out daily activities, and that you all want them to stay in their home. To make that happen, you all believe that they deserve their own personal assistant because of what they’ve done for others. Mention that you’d like them to consider outside help as a personal favor to you and your siblings.

Calmly discuss with your parents the “what-ifs”; for example if one spouse would experience a serious fall or surgery that required recovery. If cost is a concern, find out if they have any long-term care insurance with home care benefits. If not, discuss shared family caregiving, or how an outside agency would be paid for. Positively point out the everyday things that your parents can still do, and that you recognize that fact. Most importantly, during “The Talk” let your parents speak openly and honestly while listening carefully to what they are saying. Once they’re both agreeable to accepting some in-home senior care, start making plans to get it started.

Reliable and Affordable Senior Care is Available

In the end, using the aforementioned preparation steps will help facilitate a more open and honest discussion process. Your parents have agreed to accept some senior care, and that’s great news! One of the options available as you move forward in ensuring a good quality of life for your mom and dad at home is reliable and affordable senior care provided by trained professionals.

Cranberry Home Care offers a wide-range of senior care services, including cooking, bathing, light housekeeping, toileting, pet care transportation, and more. For more advice on how to have “The Talk” about senior care with your aging parents, or to learn more about your options when your aging loved one needs senior care, please call Cranberry Home Care today or request a free consultation.

Trish Garbitt
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