Facing the fact that one is aging is a difficult pill to swallow for the most aware person. This can be even harder for those that are experiencing dementia and Alzheimer’s. Discussing elder care with your loved ones or family members can be very difficult.
One major elder care issue you may have to deal with is that your seniors not recognizing signs that indicate help is needed. This is especially true when you have begun noticing that your parents are dealing with safety concerns, and they are unwilling to acknowledge the problem. Getting them help is a delicate topic to bring up, because mentioning you are concerned about your parents’ safety can cause your parents to feel defensive and angry. Needing assistance is best brought up carefully. You should also be well-prepared with information so that you can point out your specific concerns, and offer recommendations for resolving these issues. Having an eldercare navigation plan can help with this conversation.
You’re still their Baby
ElderCompass can be an amazing resource for helping to explain safety concerns to your parents. Often it is much easier for a senior to accept this type of health information from someone who is not their child, than it is to listen to a child’s concerns. Regardless of how old you get, your parents will always see you as their baby, so it is difficult for them to balance this perception of you with the realization that you are trying to provide for their care and safety. Asking an experienced geriatric health professional to come into your parents’ home and evaluate it for safety can help show your parents the problems that are present, and may even show you issues about which you were not aware.
The most important thing to keep in mind, regardless of how resistant your parents are, when you are taking their elder care into your responsibility it is vital that you stand strong. Make decisions that are based on their ongoing safety and well-being rather than allowing them to keep things the way they are, simply because they are more comfortable that way. Help them to understand the changes that are going to be made in their home as beneficial to their health rather than simply random changes that you have made. The more they are involved in the process, the easier it should make them feel about the transition. It is important that you are clear and honest with your parents about the issues you have seen. These concerns may be the greatest, help them see through your eyes that the decisions you are making regarding their elder care is in their best interest.
Don’t hesitate. Trust your gut to know that you need to have this conversation and be sure to listen to your elder’s concerns with compassion and understand.