Community Blog

How to Have a Difficult Conversation with your Aging Parent

By Owner

home helpers of south shore

It takes a lot to have a difficult conversation with anyone, let alone an aging parent. But members of the “sandwich generation,” often Baby Boomers who are getting up there in years themselves, find themselves in a situation where they have to act as a parent to their own parent. As they age, seniors often lapse into forgetfulness, repetition and decreasing cognitive ability, triggering a toxic mix of anger, pity, fear and annoyance in their adult children. The solution can be as easy as hiring an in-home health caregiver to shoulder some of the responsibilities.

Here is a game plan you can follow to get your point across without inflicting unnecessary pain and embarrassment.

Step #1: Lay the Groundwork

To pave the way for an important talk about such issues as taking away the car or the problems your loved one may be having at home, lay the groundwork by bringing up the subject briefly in the weeks leading to the decision-making conversation. You might say that you noticed a dent on the car, or ask your loved one how he or she is taking care of personal hygiene and household responsibilities.

Step #2: Choose the Right Time

Set aside some time when you can devote your full attention to the issues at hand. Out of respect, you will probably want to choose a quiet moment alone with your loved one in a private location. You may choose a calm day over the weekend at their home, your home, or in neutral territory such as a restaurant over a relaxing dinner so you can really connect without distractions.

Step #3: Be Honest, but Tactful

Let your loved ones know that you are on their side and that you want to help. You can share your concerns by telling them what you have learned or observed about the challenges they face while living on their own, like keeping enough food in the house, cleaning or taking a shower. Be persistent but tactful as you present the issues, and emphasize that you are trying to find a solution that will honor their wishes and allow them to retain as much independence as possible.

Step #4: Make Them Part of the Solution

Involve your loved one by listening to their opinions and by allowing them to voice their concerns. Take note of their comments and allow their wishes to guide you in creating a plan going forward. Take lifestyle preferences into consideration so you understand whether your loved ones would be better off at home with some assistance from an in-home caregiver, or whether they would be better off in a facility like an assisted living or a nursing home.

Step #5: Come Up with a Plan

In a perfect world, you would be able to come up with an action plan at the end of the conversation. The reality is that you may have to contact a reputable home health care agency that can provide trained and qualified caregivers, so you might have to finalize the plan at a subsequent date. At the very least, by the end of the conversation with your loved one you should agree about the next steps that will be taken and the eventual outcome.

Getting the Help you Need

When you see the need for a home health caregiver such as a companion, aide or Certified Nursing Assistant for your aging loved one, contact Home Helpers of South Shore. Owned and operated by a compassionate health professional with a strong understanding of the needs of aging seniors, Home Helpers can provide trained and experienced home health caregivers to assist with housekeeping, personal hygiene, meal preparation and transportation.

Please call us at 781-585-1244 or fill the form on left for a free in-home consultation to determine the plan that is right for you.

We serve the following communities:

Abington , Braintree , Brockton , Buzzards Bay , Carver , Cohasset, Dighton , Duxbury , Falmouth , Halifax , Hanson , Hingham , Holbrook , Hull , Humarock , Kingston , Lakeville , Marshfield , Mashpee , Middleboro , Norwell , Pembroke , Plymouth , Plympton , Quincy , Randolph , Rockland , Sandwich , Scituate , Taunton , Wareham , Weymouth , Whitman