I receive many phone calls from adult children worried about their parents as they age. They can see that their parents need help but they are not quite sure how to bring this to their parents' attention.
Several have already tried to unsuccessfully offer assistance, just to have their parents tell them "You don't tell me what to do, I am your parent," all the while continuing to observe their parents trying to unsuccessfully manage their health care, finances, or the dreadful topic of driving.
How you approach any of your concerns is the most important first step. The approach will make or break your attempt. Overall, you need to make sure that your parent does not feel that you are trying to take over their life.
Parents need to feel that they are still in control but it is the child's goal to ensure that they are doing this in the safest route as possible. Most children do not want to take control of their parents' lives, they have enough other responsibilities going on in their life to have to take on the task of controlling their parents. What the children do want is a peace of mind knowing that their parents are safe. This is especially true for children who live a distance from their parents.
Several suggestions when approaching your parents regarding a concern:
1. If you have other siblings, talk with them about your concerns. A group effort won't look as if you are ganging up on your parents.
2. You just want a peace of mind. Explain to your parents that you are worried or concerned when you are not always around.
3. You are trying to extend their independence. Explain that if they get hurt or hurt someone else, they will lose their independence sooner than planned. This is especially true when a spouse (who is also suffering from medical issues) is physically caring for another.
4. Ask for outside assistance in approaching this matter. There are professionals who are trained in assisting an older adult.
There are so many options out there for older adults and trying to decide what service your parent will need can be a difficult task. You never know, your parents may be feeling the same concerns but the last person they want pointing out their needs is their child.
Sometimes an outside person is of little threat to assist them in their needs. This approach will also allow the child/parent dynamic to keep the parent/child relationship flowing.
A Geriatric Care Manager is a health and human service specialist providing expert assistance, guidance, advocacy, and resources to aging adults and families. You can reach Rebecca Raines, RN, at 330-962-8494 or email your concerns at email@example.com.