Eldercare conversations can often be emotionally charged. Talking about getting elderly care help for a parent can quickly turn into a never-ending argument. Adult children often become frustrated with what they view as their parents’ stubborn refusal to accept help. On the other hand, elderly parents can become increasingly resentful of what they perceive as their children’s bossy interference.
In order to put an end to this futile conflict, an adult child needs to demonstrate to their elderly parent that far from being adversaries on this issue, they should be working together on common goals, namely the parent’s safety, health, happiness and dignity. Here are some ways adult children can show their elderly parents that they are trying to support them, not control them.
Eldercare conversations strategies
The first step is to listen to an elderly parent with respect and an open mind. Let them talk about their daily life, what brings them joy and what struggles they face. Validate their feelings instead of telling them what they should do. For example, if you mother complains that she is overwhelmed by household tasks, a response such as “that must be very frustrating for you ” shows that you are listening to her and will be more helpful. On the opposite side, saying something like “ You should move out of your house” can be counter-productive.
Ask about their concerns regarding getting eldercare help. Among other issues, many parents worry about the cost or the lack of privacy. By understanding what is at the root of their elderly parent’s reluctance to get help, an adult child may be better able to find a way to present help in a manner that doesn’t upset their parent. For example, an elderly man with limited physical mobility resists his daughter’s suggestion to hire a caregiver to drive him to appointments.
A discussion regarding his reluctance reveals his assumption that the caregiver would be a young woman and the thought of being seen in public with someone who is obviously there to care for him makes him feel humiliated. When the daughter mentions a few days later that she knows of a mature gentleman (who would appear less like a caregiver and more like a friend) who is available to drive him to an upcoming doctor’s appointment, her father agrees.
Enlist outside help
No matter how old we get, we are always our parent’s child. For some parents, it is impossible to accept advice from their children, no matter how sound, simply because they believe that as the parent, they know better. Other parents resist help from their children because, having always been the one to provide care in the past, they are uncomfortable with the role reversal.
In deciding if it is time to get help for an elderly parent, advice from another source, such as your parent’s doctor, may carry more weight. In these situations, it is important to let your parent know that you are on their team, not trying to run their life. For example, when meeting with their doctor you might say, “It is important to both of us that my mother maintains as much independence as possible, without compromising her safety. In your opinion, how can we best achieve that?”
Tell them the help is for you
You wish you could be there to do more for them but the demands of other commitments in your life, such as work and kids, make that impossible. You feel guilty and worried and you need to know they are okay for your own well-being.
Talking to your parent about eldercare doesn’t happen in a single conversation, but rather in a series of discussions. At Complete Care Coordination, we understand how challenging the process can be. We provide elderly care Montreal services. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or require assistance with home care or a caregiver in Montreal for a senior member of your family.