senior man in wheelchair enjoying listening to music as he looks at his smartphone
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Talking to Aging Parents About Getting Help

Discovering that your aging parents may need help

Spending time with your parents over the holidays can lead you to realize that they are slowing down.  It can be difficult to talk to them about making a change after being independent their entire adult lives.  It can be a tough conversation, but don’t make it more difficult by making it confrontational. 

Let them know that you are there to help them make decisions and you support them.  While you may not agree with every position they take, it will be more productive if they know that you are on their side. 

Accept the fact that they may not make decisions at the pace that you would like.  Talk through issues with them and allow them to come to conclusions based on all the facts. 

Help identify options that allow your parents to have control over the situation but creates safer situations for them.  For example, instead of making a drastic move from their own home after 60 years of independence to an assisted living facility or nursing home, suggest that they receive help in their home.  A caregiver can create a safer situation through medication reminders, standby assistance for showering, healthy meal preparation, and providing transportation to and from appointments.

Don’t expect your parents to be somebody different than who they are just because they’re elderly.  You know them better than anybody.   Approach the situation based on what you know about their personality and decision-making approach.