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Talking with Your Aging Parents about Care

By Marius Butas, 7:06 pm on

There comes a time when families must address their aging loved ones’ need for assistance at home, allowing them to live out their remaining years safely and comfortably. Although having an open and honest conversation with your aging loved one about senior care is the best way to ensure the appropriate level of care is provided, the topic is often met with resistance by seniors.

As a trusted Mesa live-in care provider, we strongly encourage families to sit down and talk with their aging parents, but understand that it is not always an easy task. Some seniors may feel threatened, fearful of losing their independence or dignity. We suggest that families look out for warning signs that may indicate an additional need for help at home. This is an easy way to start a conversation with an elder about needing additional help at home. A few common warning signs help may be needed include but are not limited to:

  • Unkempt Home – A messy home can indicate that a senior no longer has the motivation, abilities or mental capacity to perform activities of daily living. Look out for unwashed dishes, laundry piling up and items not put in their proper place. Other problems that can easily be identified include unpaid bills lying around the home, an overstuffed mailbox and a heavy backup of voicemails on an answering machine.
  • Lack of Food – When an aging loved one’s kitchen is not fully stocked, it can mean a variety of things. The senior may not be able to drive to the grocery store for fresh food or may be unable to prepare meals safely. In some cases, memory loss may cause a senior to forget eating all together, indicating a more serious problem such as the need for specialty dementia or Alzheimer’s care in Mesa.
  • Hygiene Issues – Not bathing regularly is a common warning sign that additional help is needed. The senior may no longer be able to perform personal care activities or may have a fear of slipping or falling in the bathroom. Whatever the reason, if an aging loved one seems to no longer care about hygiene, especially if it was something they took pride in before, additional help is likely necessary.

When discussing any of these issues with your aging parents and broaching the subject of assistance, keep the following points in mind:

  • If your elderly parent has not yet reached the point of needing to move into assisted living, find ways to make the first floor the home as fully livable as possible, eliminating the need to walk up and down stairs.
  • Be willing to negotiate specific changes in your parent’s living arrangements or routine, and offer to remain as directly involved as possible.
  • Let your parents choose from among the available options so that they can retain as much control over the situation as possible.
  • Stress the fact that you are having this conversation with them because you love them and want their remaining years to be spent as happily and independently as possible. In order for that to happen, they must first be out of harm’s way.

Talking with an aging parent or loved one about their need for assistance is never easy, but by knowing the warning signs and how to best approach the subject, you can have a positive impact and assure the best possible outcome for your aging loved ones.

For more information about care for an aging parent or loved one at home, contact Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care in Mesa. Our Care Managers are available 24/7 and can answer any questions you may have about our high caliber caregivers, services and schedules. Call (480) 699-4899 to schedule a complimentary, no obligation consultation today!