Tips for Starting Conversations About Aging Parents’ Care Needs

young man and his elderly father chating over coffee on sofa
Use these tips to start the tricky conversation about aging parents’ care needs.

Maybe you remember having “the talk” with your parents about those cringeworthy pre-teen topics. If you thought that was uncomfortable, brace yourself for “the talk” about your aging parents’ care needs! This can be extremely difficult, for several reasons:

  • Your parent may resent what seems to be a reversal of roles or being told what to do
  • They may feel threatened and fearful of losing independence as well as the freedom to make their own choices
  • They might be in denial that there is a problem at all

What are the best ways to overcome these very valid feelings to get to a place of acceptance about home care services? Try these tips as a starting point:

  1. Plan the conversation: what you will discuss, who will attend, where you can best talk without distractions.
  2. Think through what it would be like to be in your parents’ shoes and exactly how you would want the conversation to go.
  3. Resolve to stay respectful and calm through the entire discussion, never trying to parent your parents.
  4. Listen to your parents’ concerns with an open mind and without preplanned responses.
  5. Realize there could possibly be more than one solution – and, that it often takes one or more conversations to achieve agreement.

Before approaching your parents, practice what you intend to say with a friend you trust to give you honest feedback. Role-playing is a great strategy to fine-tune your words and presentation and to help you gain confidence.

When you are prepared to talk with your parents, be ready for any outcome. In a perfect world, they will agree with your concerns and be open to getting the support of a home care professional. It’s certainly conceivable that they share your concerns, but were unsure how to broach the subject with you. But likewise, be prepared for resistance, defensiveness, and perhaps even anger.

In the event that the discussion about aging parents’ care needs is leading to heightened emotions and you are reaching an impasse, pause the conversation and try again later. It may be helpful to include someone your parents respect and trust in a subsequent conversation, for example, a close friend or healthcare professional.

When you’re ready to explore home care options for your parents, contact Serenity Home Care. We are available to start with minimal support, such as meals, light housekeeping, or transportation, and slowly work up to more care as soon as your parents feel at ease with their caregiver.

We understand how difficult it can be for someone to admit the need for help at home. Our goal is always to foster an atmosphere of independence in which each person in our care remains as much in control of all of life’s decisions as possible. You can reach us 24/7 at 250.590.8098 for more information about our highly personalized home care services in Esquimalt, Saanich, Victoria, and the surrounding areas.