Caring For An Elderly Parent – How Do You Approach the Difficult Conversation?


What our parents want in their old age?

People are living longer than ever before. Thanks largely to medical science and people generally taking better care of their own health, it is believed that by 2041, the world’s population will reflect up to one quarter elderly individuals. That is truly excellent news because we all want to keep our parents around as long as possible, but when you have an ageing parent, certain care questions require an answer.

  • How can we take care of our elderly parents in today’s busy society?
  • How to start the conversation about care ?
  • How to persuade our parents to accept help?

Nobody wants to have the conversation. The one where you talk to your elderly parents – the people who brought you up and looked after you as a child – about their growing need for support in their home.

It’s a Vulnerable Issue

The world has seen a drastic change in recent months and it has become very evident that certain reforms need to be made in order to properly care for our ageing loved ones. The rise in elderly individuals warrants change of facilities, homes, and even our own mindsets about the needs of the elderly. When it is your own parent needing care, the issue can be difficult to bring up. You never want the ones who raised you to feel as though they are not needed or wanted, but in certain circumstances, outside help may be required.

How to Start the Conversation

It is unlikely that your parents will ever bring up the need for help with everyday tasks. Our parents come from a generation that did for themselves and it is increasingly difficult to break with that notion. It is important that we think of things from the perspective of those that may need care support. They have feelings that require our attention when bringing up care concerns, but someone has to start the conversation and the subject should be brought up in a loving way that allows the parent to make the primary decision.

Chat Privately

These decisions do not need to be made in a public environment. Some people make the mistake of taking their parents out to a meal in a very public place in order to keep them from possibly causing a scene. The tactic will ultimately backfire and you will end up embarrassing your parent. Instead opt for a very private environment in which the parent feels safe to speak their mind.

Timing is Everything

The time to talk to your parent about possible care might seem ideal right after an accident, but this can be a very vulnerable time for the parent. They may feel sensitive about the thought of having someone to care for them, so it is often best to wait a while before bringing up the subject.

One of Many Conversations

The initial conversation will only be one of many. Your parent will need time to adjust to the idea and even if the initial conversation does not go as planned, give them time to digest the thoughts and bring it up at a later date. It is okay to have multiple conversations about the need for care.

Pay Attention

One of the worst things you can do when talking to your parent about getting help is to simply talk without listening. They will have opinions and desires. Everything they say should be taken into consideration. When you begin listening, instead of simply talking to them, you will find that they have likely thought about this issue and may even have their own ideas about the best way to get the care they need.

Be Supportive

Everyone has an opinion about what is best for themselves and your ideas and your parent’s ideas may not be exactly on the same page. Your relationship with your parent is paramount and when choosing what to do and how to provide care for your elderly parent, you can quickly deteriorate the relationship by not supporting their desires.

Do Not Force Your Ideas

Strong opinions are fine to have, but when you force your ideas on your parents, you can begin to push them away. A parent’s desire is for their children to be happy and when you begin forcing your ideas on your parent, you can make them feel as though they are not wanted or will become a burden on you if they do not choose your proposed path. No parent wants to feel this way, so do not allow yours to.

.. and Finally

Information is key in deciding what the best plan for your parent’s elderly care needs are. Consider counselling from an expert on the subject as an impartial party can sometimes be the best solution to the problem. Talking with an elderly care professional will provide insights for both you and your parent to look at the care needs from a different perspective.

Providing your parent with quality guidance and trusting them to make the right decision is essential to establishing the best care for their needs. You can have input, but always take into consideration your parent’s needs, desires, and wants.

Based in the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire – Ashridge Home Care is a multi award winning, family owned, specialist live-in home care agency providing services across the South East of England.