Your parents have spent most of their lives making their own decisions. They also made most decisions for us as we were growing up. However, there may come a time when we have to step in and make care choices to manage their health and well-being.
In most cases, this involves developing a care plan that will provide the necessary support, depending on your parent’s symptoms. Having a plan in place will help reduce the stress and uncertainty about your loved one’s future care needs and play an invaluable role in navigating the conversation about care with your parents.
However, creating a care plan must involve your parent’s input. Many adult children find these conversations stressful and difficult, especially if they experience resistance from their older loved one. Taking the below steps will help make the process much easier.
Make observations about your loved one’s condition
None of us can predict the future. Not knowing what can happen tomorrow or over the next year can make care planning difficult. However, we can reduce the stress by planning for the possibilities based on our observations of how our elderly loved one is doing today. This approach will also help us be prepared in the event of mental decline, illness, injury, or medical emergencies.
The first step is a visit, preferably in person, to look for any red flags that might indicate any areas of concern. For example, are there any sudden changes in your parents, such as becoming more forgetful or having difficulty moving? Are they generally happy or angry and negative? Are they clean and groomed?
It’s also essential to observe the condition of the family home. Is it unkempt and cluttered? Are there any safety issues to be concerned about? See if they’re stocking nutritious food in the refrigerator and cupboard if you can. Document what you’re seeing and compare notes with other family members. There’s always a chance that you could be misreading symptoms or missing things.
The next step is to talk with your loved one about your concerns and gently work toward developing a solution.
Having the conversation with your loved one
Everyone has a different sense of independence, autonomy, and dignity, and how they contribute to one’s quality of life. This can make it tricky to talk to your parents about your concerns for their health and well-being. However, they do need to be part of the conversation.
It’s always best to approach these topics from a place of love and concern. Although your parents might initially react with indifference or denial, they’ll recognize that your intentions are genuine. Interrogating your parents or insisting on a care plan you’ve developed on your own may trigger an adverse reaction.
Here are some tips on how to keep the conversation positive and productive:
Involve your parents in all decision-making
Giving your parents as much control as possible over their care needs will help them stay open to the idea of care, especially if they don’t want to decide right away.
Listen to their feedback: Gently listen to your elderly loved one’s questions and concerns. Be prepared with the answers or offer to help them find the answers online.
Make the conversation about them
Avoid lecturing about how a care plan will make your life easier, and make the plan entirely about helping them live a more independent, stress-free life.
Base recommendations on facts
Putting your personal opinions aside and making recommendations based on published medical and healthy aging advice will keep discussions moving forward.
Document their medical history: Keeping a record of your loved one’s health history, such as doctor visits, hospitalizations, medications, and falls, can support your idea for a care plan and help determine present and future care needs.
Involve other family members
Allow an open environment for other family members to express their feedback. Be careful to maintain a safe, positive environment that keeps your parent’s care needs first and foremost.
Involve your parent’s care cycle/healthcare providers
It’s also a good idea to offer to accompany your elderly loved one to visit their primary care physician or other healthcare providers for a complete examination. They might uncover the reasons behind your parent’s symptoms, such as dehydration, reactions to medications, poor diet, early onset Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, or another condition.
The doctor can also give you their recommendations for a care plan. Having the doctor’s support will go a long way to helping your parents accept support.
How you can help
In some cases, medical intervention might not be necessary to help your older loved one live independently at home. For example, they may simply need rides to go shopping or attend medical appointments. Family members or friends can also help with household tasks such as meal preparation, cleaning, or paying bills.
However, in cases where their personal or healthcare needs require more specialized attention, hiring in-home eldercare professionals is the perfect solution to helping your loved one live independently in the comfort of their own home.
Quality in-home elder care services in Etobicoke, Mississauga, and Brampton
CareHop believes everyone has the right to live at home, especially as they age. When your older loved one needs support to maintain their lifestyle, our team of caregivers can help.
Whether your loved one needs professional nursing care or Alzheimer’s disease or dementia support, CareHop delivers services that enhance their health and well-being and bring joy and sunshine into their home every day while preserving their independence.
We also offer services that keep your parents happy and engaged with fun activities, light exercise, and casual companionship. Our team also provides personal care, homemaking, and meal preparation that will enhance their happiness, health, and overall well-being.
If you have any questions about our specialized home and elder care services, please reach out to us anytime for a free, no-obligation discussion to discover how we can help you.