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How to Talk With Parents About Aging Care

Adult son discussing aging care with father on the couch
Knowing how to talk with parents about aging care is vitally important when safety is a concern.

Maybe you recall having “the talk” with your parents about those cringeworthy pre-teen topics. If you thought that was awkward, brace yourself for “the talk” with older parents about concerns you’re noticing and the need for care in the home! Knowing how to talk with parents about aging care isn’t easy and often leads to resistance, for several reasons:

  • They might be in denial that there is a problem at all
  • Your parents may resent what seems to be a reversal of roles or being told what to do
  • They may feel threatened and fearful of losing independence and the freedom to make their own choices

What are the best ways to overcome these very valid feelings to come to a place of acceptance about home care services? Try these recommendations as a starting point:

  1. Plan the conversation: who will attend, what you will discuss, where you can best talk without distractions.
  2. Think through what it could be like to be in your parents’ shoes and just how you would want the conversation to go.
  3. Resolve to remain respectful and calm throughout the discussion, never attempting to parent your parents.
  4. Tune in to your parents’ worries with an open mind and without preplanned responses.
  5. Realize there could possibly be more than one solution – and, that it often takes one or more conversation to attain agreement.

Prior to approaching your parents, practice what you intend to say with a friend you trust to give you straightforward feedback. Role-playing is an excellent way to fine-tune your words and presentation and to help you gain confidence.

When you’re ready to talk to your parents, be ready for any outcome. In an ideal world, they will agree with your concerns and be open to having the support of a home care professional. It is certainly possible that they share your worries, but were uncertain how to broach the subject with you. But also be prepared for resistance, defensiveness, and possibly even anger.

If the discussion is causing heightened emotions and you are reaching an impasse, pause the conversation and try again later. It might be helpful to include someone your parent trusts and respects in a follow-up conversation, such as a close friend or healthcare professional.

When you’re ready to explore home care options for your parent, contact Home Sweet Home In-Home Care. We are available to start with minimal support, such as meals, light housekeeping, or transportation, and gradually work up to more care once your parent feels at ease with their caregiver.

We know how difficult it can be for someone to accept the need for assistance at home. Our goal is always to encourage an environment of independence in which each person in our care remains as much in control of each of life’s decisions as possible. You can reach us any time at (866) 229-2505 for more information about our highly personalized home care services in St. Joseph, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, and the surrounding areas.

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