Important Tips on Caring for Your Aging Parent

Have you seen your elderly parents getting weaker in the last few months or years? It can be scary, especially if they’re making choices you don’t think are good for them. It can also be tricky if they don’t want your help or advice. But, if you talk to them in a way that lets them stay independent, you can help them make better decisions.

Many things affect the decisions your parents make. How you talk to them when sharing your thoughts matters. These tips will help you deal with disagreements and support your aging parents without being too forceful.

Talk to Elderly Parents

Being patient and persistent helps a lot when talking to elderly parents. Don’t expect to solve everything at once. You might need to talk about your worries many times, so stay patient. Giving too much information at once can scare them, especially if they fear losing control. If your loved one has dementia or trouble understanding things, too much information all at once can be overwhelming.

Be Sensitive

Criticizing or judging can make your parents defensive. Telling them directly that they can’t manage their lives won’t help. Use “I” statements instead, like saying, “I feel worried because you seem to be losing weight, and I’m concerned you might not be eating enough.”

Stay Calm

Your parents might know they’re facing challenges but might find it easier to avoid discussing the future than admit it. Talking about your worries calmly and with kindness can make them feel better about dealing with changes.

Choose Your Battles Wisely

Don’t pressure, bother, or constantly criticize your parents. Forcing them into decisions by making threats or getting angry can hurt your relationship. Instead, please include them in all decisions, respect their feelings, and let them know their views are essential.

Spend more time with them

Even if you’re busy, try to spend a bit more time with your parents (as long as being together doesn’t cause arguments). They’ll probably be happy to get more of your attention as they age. You might get along better if they see you’re making time for them, not just fitting them into your busy life.

Ask Questions

Talk with your parents, not at them, by getting them involved in the conversation. Begin by asking questions that don’t have a yes or no answer (like, “Why don’t you want cousin Mary to help with meals?”). Ideally, this method can help them think about their situation and realize that a change is needed.

Find Solutions

Listen to what your parents worry about instead of telling them what to do. Promise to look for information; if you don’t know something, don’t pretend you do. The aim is to build trust and work together as a team.

Get Help From Family

Caring for someone is a big job; you shouldn’t do it alone. If you have brothers or sisters, plan a meeting with them to discuss your worries or ask them to speak to your parents. It’s essential to agree on the key issues.

Consult Their Healthcare Provider

If you’ve tried everything else and nothing seems to work, it’s a good idea to contact your parents’ doctor and express your concerns about their health and well-being. Often, parents might be more willing to listen to advice or concerns when they come from a medical professional. The doctor can then assess the situation and provide the necessary guidance or intervention that your parents might be more inclined to follow, considering their respect for the doctor’s expertise.

Explain What Could Happen

If your parents insist on staying in their big house or keep driving, calmly explain the potential risks. Don’t scold or treat them like kids. Just remind them their choices affect more than just the family. Saying something like, “Mom, I care about you and your independence, but I’m worried it could lead to an accident that hurts someone,” can make them think.

Try to Figure Out Why They’re Acting That Way

When you talk to someone you care about, please pay attention to what they say and don’t. Sometimes, they might be scared of things like moving to a new place because they’re worried about making new friends, or they might not want to see a doctor because of what they might hear about their health. Often, their actions are driven by fear or worry. Try to figure out why they’re acting the way they are.

Deal With It; Don’t Criticize Yourself

It’s hard to see someone you care about struggle with getting older, especially if they don’t want help. You can try to convince them, but you can do only so much. Talking to a counsellor or joining a support group can help you accept things and understand what you can and can’t change.

Respect Your Elderly Parents

Show respect to your older parents. Remember, they’re still your parents even as they get older. It might feel strange if it seems roles are reversing, but treating them like adults is important. Listen to what they have to say and let them make choices. This shows you respect and value them.

When figuring out how to help an aging parent, seeking expert advice is usually a great start. Places like senior living communities have staff who’ve helped older adults and their families for a long time. These professionals can teach you about health issues that affect seniors, advise you on how to talk to your loved one and take excellent care of them when necessary.


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