Talking With Parents About Aging and Home Care

It’s a tricky step to start talking about home care or other services to your parents, as it is a major change from the status quo. Many factors are involved and each case is completely different. However, here is a list of ideas for you to consider prior to taking that step!

Keep them involved. Autonomy is not a minor point for anyone and particularly for people who have run things their own way up to this point. You may prefer safety. They however prefer autonomy. Tread lightly and make sure you get them involved in the discussions at the start and throughout the process.

Do a thorough and slow assessment of their needs. Initially, you can do this by yourself but you may request an OT, family doctor or other health care professional to step in as well. Understand that these needs will change over time. Write everything down in a notebook and don’t do it all at once and then make decisions unilaterally. There are usually some pretty good reasons why your parents are doing things a certain way and understanding those reasons are important. For example, it may seem silly to you that they are doing their laundry down in the basement. However, that may also be a way they get exercise and is part of their daily routine. Therefore, instead of putting the washer and dryer upstairs, perhaps add some railings to make it safer for going downstairs.

Do a thorough and slow assessment of your needs and resources. What are you doing for them and what are you doing for yourself? How much money is available for home care? How much do you save by not having them move out? How much time do you have to assist? Is it better for you to be involved or is it better for a professional to step in? Lots of good questions to think about before you decide to jump in!

Explore all the options. There are many ways for people to age gracefully and safely. I prefer people to stay in their own home because that is what they are used to and normally what they prefer. I tend to find it easier, cheaper and better socially. However, other options like moving to a smaller apartment or condo; assisted living; group living; etc. are all possibilities that can and should be explored. Make sure you talk over all the options with them and remember – it’s their choice!