That Tough Conversation

“Dad, I don’t think it is safe for you to drive anymore.”

“Mom, have you considered Assisted Living?

You are not eating very well and I noticed you did not take your medications again last night that I left out for you.”

“Mom and Dad, the house is falling apart around you.  Have you considered bringing in some help with yard work, repairs, and maybe housekeeping?”

As an adult child who is helping to care for a parent, you might be facing a tough conversation with a loved one.  There are ways to make those discussions easier and most of all, respectful, to those that have loved and cared for you over the years.  Starting the conversation can be as easy as “Dad I am concerned about (fill in the blank)”  You may find that they have been sharing some of these same concerns.

First, be respectful of the aging process.  Physical and cognitive changes can be scary, and sometimes hard to acknowledge and accept.  Educate yourself on options available, from help at home with household chores, additional medical care or assisted living options.  Understand that you are possibly asking a loved one give up a portion of their life, whether it is driving, making meals, or even living in their home.  You are possibly proposing that they close a chapter of their lives.

Secondly, don’t ignore things such as not eating, failing to take medications or a change in how the home is kept.   Do try to open up a conversation on what you are observing and share information you learned from educating yourself on options which could help them.  Get help or guidance from professionals if appropriate.

Lastly, understand that the choice, whatever it might be, is ultimately theirs to make. Asking a parent to accept help with cleaning, with cooking, or even help with bathing can be a big deal to them.Don’t avoid those tough conversations, but handle them with compassion and understanding.

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Laura Cooley, CSA.  Laura is the local owner and Certified Senior Advisor for Care Patrol and may be reached at 719-373-0040 or by email at laurac@carepatrol.com