The holiday season is winding down and your family created many lifelong memories, good and bad. As you left and turned towards home, you couldn’t shake that feeling: your parents need help. You’ve never seen them move so slow, sleep so long, or forget so much. You never thought this day would come.
How do I tell my parent that, after years of helping me, they need help now? How much will this cost? Will they retain their dignity? These are only a fraction of the questions that are running through your mind, and there will be many more questions to answer later. So, how should you start?
Starting the “care conversation” with your parent is scary. There are many friends, home care companies, and doctors that can advise you on your way, but you still have to start the conversation. It will be difficult, but the family has to step up to the plate, show that they care, and discuss the future with their aging parents.
The conversation needs to be planned out. Take time to research local home care organizations, senior care, and assisted living facilities. Gather information and costs so that your parent has the opportunity to make a sound financial decision. The planning process shouldn’t occur overnight or on a weekend when all of the adult children are home. A well reasoned idea for the future will help put their mind at ease, as well as yours.
Let Them Decide
One of aging’s scariest secrets is losing the ability to decide for yourself. When you decide to meet with them, you can give all of the information you gathered: financial plans, costs, difference between assisted lived and senior housing, long-term insurance, and advanced directives, but let them know that you are there to help, not to decide for them. Letting them know from the beginning that it’s their decision is a great way to encourage a productive and loving conversation.
Many seniors want to avoid a conversation about care, but their future is always an important topic. One of the best ways to open the door to “the talk” is to ask your parent what they want for their future. How do they want to be treated? What do they expect or want from their family? Time, planning, and patience are all important aspects of your parent’s future. So please, don’t wait; start planning for your loved one today.