As they age, your parents may begin to need help with previously doable activities. It can often be difficult to accept this help after a lifetime of independence. If you’re trying to help your elderly parents on the road to long-term care, try adding some of these methods to your strategy.
1. In-home care
According to a study by AARP, 90% of seniors want to remain living in their home as they age. This allows them to maintain their independence and enjoy the lifestyle they have grown accustomed to. Your parents may be more likely to accept in-home care rather than moving into a facility.
2. Hire someone familiar
Many people are uncomfortable accepting help from people they do not know. They may also be eerie about inviting someone they don’t yet trust into their home. Hiring someone your parents know and trust will increase the likelihood of accepting regular visits and assistance.
If your parents will be receiving care from an outside caregiver, ensure they are given ample time to get to know each other. Having someone your parents know present during initial meetings can make the process smoother.
3. Use the right language
In many situations, the way something is said can make all the difference. Try not to start statements with “You have to” or “We’re going to” as this will make your parents feel as though they have no control. Instead, start with phrases like “I think we should” or “Let’s try” which imply that your parents have a say in the matter. Decisions made will greatly affect their lifestyle, and they should be able to voice their opinions.
4. Listen to their opinions
When you have said your piece, be sure to listen to the opinions of your parents. Listen even if they don’t agree with your ideas. By listening to their opinions, objections, and questions, you can respond appropriately. Understanding their objections and answering their questions about the care process can make it much easier to come to a solution.
5. Get the right services
If your parents are still able to do many tasks on their own, only hire caregivers to help with the necessities. Receiving assistance with activities they are able to do alone may make your parents feel as though they are losing their independence.
If possible, start with a small amount of care and add services later as necessary. This will ease your parents into the long-term care world and make them more willing to accept future help.
6. Consult a professional
Remember, you’re not alone in this process. Discuss with your parents’ doctors what activities they should get help with and what tasks they can do independently. The opinion of a medical professional can also help the seniors to understand why assistance is necessary and the possible outcomes of refusing help.
Consulting an elder law attorney can help your parents understand their options, rights, and resources. Contacting your local Area Agency on Aging can connect your parents to a wide range of available services.
7. Be positive
Try to remain positive throughout discussions. For example, if your parents accept in-home care, they can stay in their own home rather than moving into a facility. Or, if only one of your parents needs care, in-home care will allow them to carry on living with their spouse and/or pet.
Seek out positive aspects of all decisions. Especially less obvious ones your parents might not have considered. Pulling the positive pieces out of a negative situation can help your parents understand that you have their best interest in mind.
Accepting care and supports in daily life will likely be a difficult reality for your parents to face. Remaining positive and level-headed throughout the discussion will increase the likelihood of a smooth process.