Even when aging parents clearly need assistance with everyday household or personal tasks, they may still resist suggestions to get caregiving help at home. eFamilyCare shares advice on how to talk with aging parents about lifestyle changes and convince them to accept the help they need.
Is there a mountain of mail piling up? Is there food spoiled in your parents’ fridge? Have you noticed that your parents are falling behind on personal hygiene?
These are just a few alarming signs that your parents are struggling to complete everyday tasks on their own.
But what can you do about it?
One of the biggest challenges of being a family caregiver is convincing your parents to accept help in their home.
Having a parent who rejects any type of assistance can be very frustrating, especially when there’s proof of how much they are struggling.
And if they are struggling, that means you are struggling as well.
Eventually, there will be a breaking point where there is no choice but to convince them to accept help.
Keep reading to find out what to do before, during, and after the conversation to move past this standoff with your aging parents.
Before the conversation: get prepared
Preparing to talk with your parents about changes to their lifestyle is an important step in this journey.
It makes the conversation smoother when you’ve had time to think ahead about how to respond to questions and topics your parents are likely to bring up.
In addition, researching potential solutions ahead of time allows you to share what you’ve learned about available options. This helps reduce uncertainty, fear, and stress for everyone involved.
In some cases, it can be helpful to speak with your parents’ doctors to get their input and recommendations.
Sometimes, having a doctor recommend caregiving assistance can be enough influence to encourage your parents to listen and be more open to the idea.
And when it’s time to have the conversation choose a quiet place that’s free of distractions so they feel calm and can focus on the topic at hand.
Ideally, the discussion would happen in person at a neutral, uneventful time – not during an emotional or meaningful holiday.
Keep in mind that the main goal for having the initial conversation is to introduce the idea of getting help.
Most people need time to process their thoughts and feelings, so it helps to set the expectation that decisions don’t need to be made right away.
During the conversation: listen and focus on benefits
Needing help is a sensitive subject because aging parents often feel like their independence is getting stripped away.
When you have conversations about getting help, try and put yourself in your parents’ shoes. Listen to their worries and fears and consider their self-image and emotions.
Work on changing their perspective on getting caregiving help at home by pointing out the benefits.
Talk about how getting help with basic daily tasks can give them more time and energy to spend with family and friends or on hobbies and personal interests.
Also, focus on the fact that accepting assistance at home actually helps them keep their independence.
Being supported within their home allows them to continue living their familiar and enjoyable lifestyle – but without the daily challenges they’re currently struggling with.
After the conversation: be patient and positive
In an ideal world, your parents would accept help at home with no resistance or arguments.
Unfortunately, real life is not that simple. A change this significant is not going to happen overnight.
While your parents take time to accept the necessity of these changes, it is important to remain patient and stay positive.
Continue to discuss potential options and listen closely to what they have to say. Understanding their concerns helps you find solutions that will appeal to them.
Keeping your patience is tough, but necessary for a successful outcome. Do your best to avoid arguments that could lead to more resistance – interrupting, raising your voice, refusing to see their side, etc.
Recommended for you:
- When They Say No: 8 Ways to Introduce In-Home Care for Seniors
- How to Talk with Parents About Aging: 5 Tips and Conversation Starters
- How to Communicate With an Aging Parent Who Won’t Listen
Guest contributor: Kristen Bonante is a writer working with eFamilyCare, an innovative and beneficial tool for all caregivers. eFamilyCare is an online family caregiving service that connects you with experienced care advisers devoted to assisting you in caring for your loved ones. Our expert care advisors will aid you in creating a tailor-made program that offers continuous support for your family caregiving. Take the stress out of caregiving and sign up for eFamilyCare today.
Image: Open Systems Healthcare
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