Diaries Magazine

Six Ways to Encourage an Ageing Parent to Get Help

Posted on the 11 June 2022 by Mummyb @mummyb_kw
It could be a really challenging thing to watch your parents' health decline. As your parents get older, you expect things to happen. As an adult, you subconsciously prepare for ageing, the impending death, all of the scary things that come with the winter of life. The problem is that when you have a parent who is fiercely independent – as they should be – you have to figure out a way to convince them to get the help that they need so that they can lean on it rather than have something happen to them.
There are many fights to be had with an aging parent, because while some of them could probably see the benefit of a while of wireless nurse call systems in the house, they may not see the benefit of a security gate, or a stair lift, or widened doors, or bannisters and rails to get around. It’s very difficult to encourage somebody who is fiercely independent to lean on something else. It can also be very difficult to convince and aging parents that they need the help of their child – you. Below, we’ve got six ways that you could encourage your aging parents to get some extra help, even if that help doesn’t necessarily come from you.
Six Ways to Encourage an Ageing Parent to Get Help
Image source: Pexels
Maintain your empathy. If you want to encourage an aging parent to get some help and not be stubborn, then you need to be empathetic. Empathising with the fact that they just spent their entire lives doing everything for themselves and now they need help? That’s important. It may be frustrating for you sometimes, but it’s important to step into their shoes. This is new for them. This is now the new normal, that they are going to need someone else’s help to do all the things that they have always been used to doing. Remember this when you are dealing with them and getting annoyed.
Ask questions. You don’t know everything that’s happening in the life of your parents, and nor should you. Remember that you are still their child even if you’re an adult, so they are likely trying to protect you. If they are having symptoms in their aging years, they could be hiding them from you so that you don’t have to worry. Ask them about aged care options to help, ask open ended questions such as what it’s been like to live by themselves. Ask them what it’s like to take care of the partner, ask them how they take care of each other. These are all questions that can help you to understand how they need help.
Don’t push. This is so difficult, but you should not push your parents to get help. They are going to fight against you every single day if you try to force them into anything. When you are looking into methods of help, don’t jump into shoving them into care homes; talk to them! Don’t look at offering them retirement home brochures, but talk about the small things and the adaptations that they can make to their homes to make life easier. The smaller options will help them to feel less overwhelmed, less needy, and less like you are taking over.
Bringing some reinforcements. Again, you don’t need to force your parents into doing anything, but it can’t hurt to enlist the help of an impartial person. Emotions can always run high in families as you well know, and if you have somebody with you to help you to talk through your options with your parents, they can help to back you up or at least support what you’re saying.
Plan ahead. To encourage an aging parent to get some help you need to plan ahead to reduce the friction around the discussion of that help. For example, instead of just discussing the options that you think would be available, get them to come to the decision on their own by asking open ended questions. Ask them how they are doing with the stairs in their home, and is there anything that they think would be available to them that could be there to make life easier. If you plan ahead in this conversation, you’re going to head off any ill feelings or fear from your parents.
Don’t do this alone. You should never approach an aging parent on your own with suggestions of how they can make changes. Education is key, and so it can help to go in with education and understanding of what help is available first before you suggest that they need help in the first place.
K Elizabeth xoxox
*Collaborative Post

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