There’s a barrage of excuses we use to convince ourselves not to talk to our parents about senior care. “My dad isn’t suffering memory loss, he’s always been forgetful,” but when you add that to other signs that indicate something is wrong, you can’t make more excuses.
Remember, just because your parent needs help, doesn’t mean they need to move… but the longer you wait, the more likely “moving” becomes the only option.
Signs Your Parent Needs Help
- Unopened mail
- Overflowing mail
- Warning bills from missed/overdue payments
- Untouched medications
- Full voicemail box
- Empty food bowls for pets
- Spoiled food in the fridge
- Mood swings
- Decline in personal hygiene
- Wearing the same clothes
- Weight loss
- Pungent odor from dishes or trash buildup
- Unexplained cuts, bruises and injuries
In addition, if your parent is diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s – even if they’re showing none of these symptoms – it’s only a matter of time, so get help to slow the progression.
All of these are strong indicators that your parent needs help, and a combination of a few these means you should talk to your parents about it pronto.
How to Talk to your Parent about Elder Care
Being that this is a sensitive topic, you want to have an open discussion about it. Do not give commands or ultimatums, talk about it openly.
When you approach your parent (or parents), sit down and express concern for their wellbeing. List the sequence of events that brought you to this point and ask them what they think is going on. Listen, really listen.
If your parent agrees that it’s a problem, then ask them what the possible solutions are. In-home care is especially viable if your loved one needs a limited amount of help; someone to help with home maintenance, pay bills, and/or personal hygiene. When you catch the symptoms early enough, this is not wishful thinking but genuinely possible and our Care Advisors are more than happy to perform free in-home assessments to see if your elder can remain at home.
If however, your parent disagrees, cite your examples again. Above all, never degrade your elder by talking to them as though they’re a troubled teenager. Even if your senior gets upset, bear in mind how you would react if someone came to you with the same concerns. You may react negatively at first, but – given time – see the problem. It will not help to get mad at one another. Most of the time, seniors don’t want to be a burden to you or anyone else, but once you’ve opened up the conversation, they’ll know they can come to you.
Remember that confrontation is not a bad thing and it’s something you (we, as society) need to talk about. Especially where dementia and Alzheimer’s are concerned, the symptoms do not go away, they worsen. You do not want to feel the guilt that comes from noticing a problem, but doing nothing about it.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”