Guest Post Author: Adam Pike | SuperCarers
Top 5 Tips For How to Discuss Care with a Parent
Throughout our lives, there are some conversations that we just don’t want to have. Like ‘that’ talk about the birds and the bees. We avoided it, or we wriggled around it, but ultimately we are glad we had it. Fast-forward to later in our lives, and there is one conversation that seems harder than ‘that’ early one, but one that you will be equally relieved and pleased you had. That is talking to your elderly mum or dad about their care.
Unlike the conversation about the birds and the bees, talking to a parent about care can be more sensitive and complex. After all, growing up they were the responsible ones, the firm ones, the ones that had the hard conversations with you. Now the tables have turned. Whether gradually or suddenly, you are now in the position to initiate what many find to be a tough conversation.
What makes things even harder is that this time, there are others involved and affected by the conversation. It’s not just you and your parent, but potentially their partners and your siblings, all of whom you want to ensure are involved. Another complexity is that the conversations may not just be about their personal, social and convenience care, but about their emotional care too. It’s a lot to think about and a very hard topic to discuss.
Although every situation and every individual is unique, there are some tips that are universally helpful for this discussion. Here we are our top 5 tips on how to discuss care with a parent:
- Current capabilities
Understanding how your parent is managing at the moment with things like washing, eating or continuing their social life can help you to determine what kind of care they may need. Highlighting areas where your parent most needs help can also help your parent to understand why you have the conversion, and how some extra support could improve their day to day lives.
- Consider all options
Doing some research ahead of the conversation will not only help you to feel more confident about approaching the discussion, but it will also give your parent an idea of what options exist for them. There are lots of ways to help older people and lots of things to consider. Check out this blog for some of the most important considerations as a new carer. Discussing what options will give them some control and help them to feel more comfortable. Considering the options ahead of time will also help with planning and getting your parent the best care possible.
- Main areas of concern
Everyone gets worried, no matter what age we are, and giving up some autonomy by getting carers, can be particularly concerning for older people. Talk to your parent and try to work out their main areas of concern. It might be money or maintaining their independence, but either way, this process will help you better address the issues one-by-one and also help them to relax.
- Care can help you as well as your parent
Although your parents are important to you, and you want to be able to help them live well for longer, it is important that looking after them does not come at the expense of your health, the health of your siblings, or your relationships. Explaining to your parent that their care is becoming hard for you to handle, it may help them to accept additional help as they will want you to be happy and healthy too.
- Care homes are not the only option
For some older people going into a care home can be scary, and undesirable. However, if it is no longer possible to keep looking after parents in their own home care homes can be a safe and secure option. However, it is important that they are included when deciding which home to go to- allow them to attend visits and explain the choices. Other residential care options also exist. SharedLivesPlus and full-time live-in care are two affordable alternatives.
These tips are great for those needing to discuss care with older parents. The conversation is unlikely to be an easy one, but it is important that you don’t give up on the conversation. Try discussing it in different situations or ask another family member or friend to also approach the topic. Lastly, be honest, remain calm, be patient and try to remain positive throughout these conversations with your loved ones. At the end of the day, you are trying to help them out so that they can enjoy each others company for as long as possible.
Guest author, Adam Pike, is the Founder of SuperCarers. SuperCarers helps families in the UK find the best care professionals in their local area, as well as providing the tools needed to easily manage the care. They believe that the best care is about more than practicalities. It’s about making a real connection between people.