Lisa found herself worrying about her mother’s resistance to in-home helpers after learning her mother who lives in another city, wasn’t exercising or eating properly and had been forgetting to take her medication for high blood pressure. When Lisa spoke to her mom about possibly moving to an assisted living facility, her mother who had always been fiercely independent, stubbornly refused to listen to her.
Do you find yourself dreading having to discuss the needs of your aging parents? Or have you already tried and failed to get them to see reason?
Here are 3 strategies for communicating better with aging parents:
1) Start the conversation early. Don’t leave this until your parents are too old or too frail to make realistic choices. Ask questions like “Dad where do you see yourself living when you are older?” and “Would you be open to having a house keeper or caregiver should the need arise?” Agree to keep communicating about issues like health and self-care.
2) Learn about community resources and recruit outside help early. Research different types of care and costs and what choices are more realistic for your parents. An elder care expert will also help you and your parents make informed decisions.
As many people respond well to outside help and expertise, Lisa and her mom called on me for advice. I was able to recommend three homes that I knew would suite Lisa’s mom and to put Lisa at ease I continue to monitor and report on her mom’s health care and well- being.
3) Be patient. As long as your parents are not endangering themselves or others they are able to make their own choices. Sometimes seniors come to realize they need help on their own without too much interference and probing from family members.