When a family member can no longer care for themselves, the conversations you must have with other loved ones are often challenging. The American Association of Retired Persons reports that many individuals find themselves making decisions regarding a parent’s or grandparent’s medical care, safety and finances after a medical crisis occurs and that individual can no longer make them on his or her own.
If you have concerns about caregiving options in the future for your aging parent, there are several tips you can keep in mind for introducing the topic and encouraging conversations regarding your options.
1. Realize your concerns
Before speaking with your aging parent, it is important that you first understand your own concerns about their care. This means observing him or her and noting areas where they may need help right now, such as requiring reminders about when to take medication. Other concerns may arise in the near future, and writing them down could help introduce necessary conversations.
2. Approach topics with care
Your aging parent may have very strong feelings and opinions about long-term care as they age, and it is important that you respect them during these conversations. He or she may feel that you or any prospective caregiver may take away certain rights or change certain routines that offer comfort. As you discuss these issues, remember to do so with care and remind your parent you are there to help, not to take over.
3. Voice your concerns
As people age, they may not realize that they need assistance with their eating, hygiene or health needs. Addressing your concerns and how you plan to help may help your aging parent understand your intentions better.
You may want to bring your parent’s doctor into these conversations over time. Support from medical professionals may make this life transition simpler for everyone involved.