Communication with Elderly Parents is Vital to Caregiving
It's not easy to communicate with your parents about what's going to happen as they age. Who's going to take care of them? Where can they go? What should they do? These questions and more plague both parents and adult children faced with such issues.
Housing, senior home care, residential care homes, space considerations and finances need to be addressed. Can you afford to take care of your parents? Would they be better off in a senior care facility? Can he or she afford such care?
Communicating with elderly parents about these issues and many more is only a part of the care giving process. Adult children must overcome obvious reluctance to discuss such issues and find the words that convey concern without making a parent feel like a burden, or worse – unwanted.
Broaching the Subject of Care
It may be difficult to mention your concerns to your parent. However, remember that open and honest communication is vital. What you say and how you say it will depend on various factors, such as:
• Your mother or father's current medical health
• Where he or she lives nearby, in another state, or even in your home
• Current support and help factors
• Medical prognosis of certain conditions such as Alzheimer's, frailty or convalescence from surgery, illness or injury
Remember that, depending on age, health and awareness, reactions may range from:
• Relief to openly discuss issues
• Denial that such issues are relevant
Some parents are more than willing to discuss options. Others may crumble into tears, perhaps fearing that you don't want the burden of caring for them.
Others may find it hard to accept that he or she needs help with daily living activities, medications or medical care. Be prepared for anything.
Above all, be patient. Don't bring up every issue or concern you have all at once. In some cases, the parent may bring up issues and at others, it will be like pulling teeth to get him or her to discuss anything.
The Right Place, the Right Time
When addressing such issues, do remember to:
• Choose a time to broach certain topics when you won't be interrupted
• Maintain focus on your elderly parent's concerns and fears. Let your parent voice or express fears, worries and anxieties
• Listen to what your parent says. Don't just hear the words. Really listen to what he or she is saying, even if your mind is made up already
• Word your concerns or issues as questions and make your parent feel part of the problem solving process
• Be honest about your own concerns, fears and limitations
• Avoid pushing your elderly parent to tackle too many issues at once. Such discussions take time.
What issues are difficult to talk about with Mom or Dad? How have you broached the subject? Click here to see what others are saying.
Dealing with Resentful Siblings
Family relationships often suffer when one sibling takes control of or cares for an aging parent. In many families, elder care is relegated to the oldest sibling, while in others the youngest often finds him or herself as primary caregiver. Sometimes, care giving is directly related to who lives closest to Mom or Dad.
Regardless, family disagreements about care, decisions and finances often drive a wedge between siblings and other family members.
Regardless of the fact that you are an adult now and may have children of your own, the decisions and issues involved in providing care for an elderly and sometimes ailing parent places stress on everyone concerned.
The rest of the family may be uncomfortable with the sibling offering (or relegated to providing) care. On the other end of the spectrum, the care giving sibling may feel a certain amount of resentment for having to deal with the burden of making sure Mom or Dad is okay at home, with residential care homes or placed in a senior home care facility while other siblings enjoy their freedom.
Resolving Conflicts with Siblings
One of the best ways to resolve conflicts, disagreements and discussions regarding care is to be involved. Even if you live out of state from your elderly parent and a sibling offering care, make it a point to be involved in issues.
Many siblings who are not caregivers often feel annoyed if he or she is not offered input regarding care, but if you don't make it a point to be part of the overall care process, you really have lost the right to complain.
Make it a point to:
• Call the care giving sibling often
• Offer to help in any way you can
• Acknowledge your appreciation of the sacrifices and care that your sibling has offered your elderly parent
Speaking with Professional Caregivers
A care giving sibling must often enlist the help or advice of professional caregivers when it comes to dealing with Mom's behavior issues, Dad's outright refusal to bathe or a sibling's hesitance to help.
Keep in mind that each of these issues may involve medical causes as well as fears and uncertainties. Support for caregivers may be found in social workers, counselors, or your parent's health care providers.
Regardless, if you are a caregiver involved in elder care, seek out the support of friends, family members or local care giving groups to help relieve some of the stress and to gain or learn from the experience of others.
Sibling Rivalry and Resentment Page
Role Reversal - You and Your Parents
Senior Concerns Page
Elderly Drivers and Future Transportation Page
Elderly Health and Future Cost Discussions
Elderly Parents Assessing Needs
Funeral Arrangements - Decisions to Make Now
Elderly Technology Page
Care and Dealing with Guilt
Preparing for Nursing Home or Hospital Stay Page
Funeral Preparation Page
Communication Page Back to Home Page
Are you being shut out of the Caregiving Decisions?
Parents Anger and Resentment
Caregivers Balancing Act
Elderly Services Elder Services
Elderly Care Expenses
Medical Alert System for Seniors
Senior Dating - Dating and Relationships at Any Age
Talking to a Medical Professional
Transportation Ideas for Elderly Parents
Financial Discussion with Mom and Dad
How is Communication with Your Elderly Parents....Great!...not so Great?
Are You Stressed out caring for Mom and Dad? How do you communicate? What drives a split between you or makes you closer?
What Other Visitors Have Said
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Driving Me Crazy
I usually try to write coherently and elegantly but I'm not in the mood, you know what I mean?
My mom is driving me crazy.
She's 92, in her own home, …
The Time is NOW for Action, not later.
Please don't wait around hoping that your elderly Mom or Dad is suddenly going to want to discuss how they want or should be taken care of.
My sister …
Misery of Old Age
It has been six weeks now since my mother was taken into hospital, everyday I have made the journey which takes about 2 hours there and back...I stay there …
The Oldest One of Six
I am very fortunate to have been blessed with wonderful parents. We always were honest and open with each other...even on the difficult subjects of what …
Miserable, Angry and Full of Resentment
I didn't want this responsibility - it fell into my lap. My other siblings are inconsiderate, uninvolved and enjoying their lives and freedom.
My freedoms …
Dealing with Siblings about Elderly Father - Frustrated!
when talking with my ailing father, i try to engage him in questions related to his wishes for care and finances. i also have attempted to mirror back …
Dealing with Elderly Parent
Dealing with Elderly Parent
My mother is 72. She is the only person I have ever met that knows everything! She can really drive me crazy but I try to …
Talking to Elderly Parents is Fine...... it is my Sister!
Talking to my elderly parents is fine....we have communicated well for ages...it is my sister that is the issue, as she is the full spirit of a drama queen. …
Elderly Driving can be Dangerous
The Elderly Driving subject is beginning to be a problem with my dad. I feel the independent nature of driving and the potential of taking that away from …
My Lawyer Sister and Brother in Law
My parents are both gone now and of course I miss them but I saw this site thinking of my cousin & decided to post anyway in the hope it might help …
Dad is Driving Me Nuts! Not rated yet
I began to care for Dad about three years ago as he began to "do those things" that the elderly do....small car accidents, (no people involved), drinking …
Difficult Not rated yet
I try to talk about it as though she and I were having a discussion about anything. But she doesn't want to think she will ever die, or that it will ever …
No Funds Available Not rated yet
My late father was in the army reserves. He retired as a Lt. Col. in the seventies. When he died in 1984, my mother was well taken care of with a generous …
Moving Mom from Own Home Not rated yet
We will be talking to my mom today about selling her home and getting a new home with my sister.
She is 90. We want to get her situated before she …
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My father had a seizure and well now has been diagnosed with diabetes and has a hard time remembering things and well, needs help as well as heart problems …
ESP Not rated yet
Well now its not so good as it used to be. Mum's 85 and somewhat demented by the torture of everyday life. I wish to alleviate the grinding chores of mere …
Talking with Seniors Not So Easy Anymore Not rated yet
Talking with my elderly parent is not so easy anymore. Either I have gotten wiser or he has slipped a bit, can't be sure. We talk about everything these …
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