My Parents Are Getting Older - Now What?
Realizing that your parents are getting older and might need to begin to consider making some changes to their lifestyle can be very sobering. The thought of actually confronting them with your concerns can be frightening because let’s face it, most people don’t react well to suggestions that they’re not as young as they used to be. But face it you must because their health and safety are more important than an uncomfortable conversation. So where do you start? Here are a few suggestions:
- Be sure to include the senior in the process. I can guarantee that this will not be a one and done conversation. Most people are resistant to change, and this change is a big one. It’s best to start having these conversations earlier rather than later to allow time for them to adjust to the idea. You certainly don’t want to ignore the situation until you’re in a crisis mode. The best time to look at your options is while you still have them. Additionally, nobody wants to lose control of their life, so you’ll have to exercise patience. Let them know your thoughts and concerns and listen (really listen!) to their response. Your idea of where and how they should live could very well not line up with their ideas. Remember that it’s still their life and they have every right to make the decisions.
- Take care of any home safety issues. While conversations are being had and options are being explored, make sure their home is safe. Clear floors of throw rugs, shoes, cords, pet toys, etc. Add grab bars where appropriate. Make sure the lighting is adequate. Check all appliances to ensure that they are working properly. A fall can be a game changer, and not in a good way.
- Assess what their needs might be. Are they able to manage their activities of daily living? Dressing? Eating? Toileting? Mobility? Bathing? If not, what level of assistance do they need? What about medication management? Are you sure they’re taking their meds as prescribed?
- Make sure there are no surprises. It can be difficult to keep everyone on the same page, especially if there are multiple siblings living in various locations. However, you don’t want to go rogue and make decisions on anyone’s behalf (especially the senior). Keep everyone in the loop.
There can be hundreds of aspects of finding the right place for the senior in your life. By enlisting the help of a Certified Senior Advisor (such as myself!) you can eliminate a lot of the confusing and frustrating aspects of navigating this arena. Also, having a neutral third party on your team can be a lifesaver!