Time spent with family members is precious, especially around the holiday season. Traditions are carried on, and new memories are made. And while this time of year is meant to be joyful, it’s also an opportunity to notice any changes in your aging loved ones’ health and discuss what options are best for their future.
It’s never easy to have tough discussions with those closest to you. Your parents have been there to take care of you, and now it’s your turn to do the same. If you’re having second thoughts about broaching the subject of senior living with them, WhiteStone is here to provide you with the support you need.
Below are specific signs to look for in an aging parent’s behavior and how to have a productive conversation with them about their current living arrangement and what options are available.
How do you know when your aging parents need help?
You don’t need to have experience with family caregiving or health care to recognize when a parent’s mental and physical capabilities are declining.
If you observe any of the following physical, behavioral, or cognitive changes, additional care will be needed for your parents’ well-being:
- Trouble getting out of a chair/sofa or bed
- Difficulty bathing or using the restroom
- Low energy
- Significant weight loss or gain
- Short temper or increased agitation
- Slurring of words
- Lack of hygiene
- General forgetfulness
- Confusion or loss of train of thought
- Increased paranoia and anxiety
When family is gathered for the holidays, it may be easier to notice these symptoms and lean on others for support. It can be helpful to have preliminary discussions with siblings or the healthier parent to figure out what care services are needed. For some, home care is more feasible. For others, senior care in a community offers more reassurance.
This is also a good time to point out any safety issues within your parents’ home. How can they stay as safe as possible while you’re helping them plan their future? An important safety tip for child caregivers is to implement tools like walkers, shower handles, and guardrails for everyday use.
Tips for talking to your parents about their health
If you’ve determined it’s in your parent’s best interest to receive some level of additional care, it’s time to have the heart-to-heart conversation. Don’t expect it to be easy, but remain hopeful.
They may not be expecting such a serious conversation during the holiday festivities and may feel thrown off guard. Also, many older adults don’t want to leave their homes or accept the fact that their independence has diminished. Rest assured, there are ways to have meaningful and proactive conversations.
Here are four tips for bringing up the topic of health care and senior living to your parents:
- Come prepared.
Your parents will have a lot of questions about what their options look like. Do your research based on their needs, location and budget, and be sure to have as much information to provide them as possible without it becoming too overwhelming. Stick to the major points like care services offered, cost and lifestyle benefits.
- Remain calm and positive.
A more subdued approach will show them you’re concerned and only have their best interest at heart. Try also to use positive language like “senior living community” instead of “nursing home” or “facility.”
- Go over the pros and cons of every option.
This will show you’re open-minded and will encourage them to consider every option with a realistic mindset. What will they gain or lose by choosing one solution over the other?
- Don’t assign a deadline.
Committing to home care or a senior living community is a major life decision. Don’t put pressure on your parents. Have ongoing discussions after your initial talk so they don’t feel cornered into taking action without feeling confident.
No matter how the conversation goes, it’s important to respect your parent’s wishes before your own. At the end of the day, it’s their decision to make and all you can do is continue to support them.
Find a full continuum of care in Greensboro
Our Life Plan Community at WhiteStone is the perfect place for Mom or Dad to age gracefully. They’ll have a lifestyle filled with every convenient amenity and service that makes each day worry-free. When additional levels of care like assisted living and memory care are needed, they’ll have access without having to move. Learn all about what makes life at WhiteStone wonderful.