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How do I broach the subject of care with my elderly parents?

Broaching the subject of care with your parents will likely not be an easy conversation. Emotions can run high on both sides. They may resent the implication that they can no longer take care of themselves and may feel affronted or ashamed. You might feel guilty that you can’t provide the care that they need.

However, if you recognise the time has come for your parents to receive care, this is a conversation you will need to have. Getting them the right care at the right time will help ensure that they continue to live safe and comfortable lives.

The following advice will help you have this conversation with the minimum of conflict and stress.


Do your research

There will likely be a range of different care options available to suit your parents’ individual requirements. Make sure you research these thoroughly, including the financial implications, before you approach the subject with them. A clear understanding of what types of care are available, and their pros and cons, will help the conversation to proceed as smoothly as is possible.

Consider whether you think they’ll need to leave their home, or if home or live-in care is an option. Home care can be personalised to your parent’s circumstances, and may well be the more suitable option, as they can have input on deciding what type of care they need. Make sure you understand the range of options before you raise the topic.


Pick the right time and location

The timing and the place you chose to have this conversation will have a big impact on how well it goes. Try to make sure that they are focussed and at ease.

Talk face-to-face if possible, not over the phone or via a screen.

Pick a location that your parent is comfortable in, such as their own home.

– Choose a time of day when they are alert and most likely to not be suffering from health conditions or pain.

Make sure that they are sitting comfortably, and any distractions, like the TV or radio, are turned off.


Adopt the right mindset

Before you speak, you need to make sure you’re approaching this topic with the right frame of mind. You want to limit the possibility of conflict.

Remember this is a conversation, not a monologue. Prepare yourself to listen to your parents’ wants and worries. They may have already thought about care and may have their own ideas and misconceptions. Take these on board. Don’t dismiss or ignore them.

Explain your concerns and your suggestions clearly and calmly. Try not to get emotional, and make sure your parent understands what you’re saying.

Don’t assume that one conversation will be enough. You may successfully persuade your parent that they need care, and both agree on what care is most suitable in one conversation. Most likely you won’t though. Prepare to have multiple chats. Recap your previous talks before you begin a new one.

Try to ensure that the type of care you decide on is a decision you’ve both made together, to ensure your parent is engaged and accepting of it. You want them to feel like they are an active participant in this process, not that they’re being forced into it.


Some points of persuasion

You may find it helpful to focus on some of the following points to emphasise the benefits of care:

– This isn’t about losing independence. Having help, particularly home care, will assist your parents to stay independent for longer. It may allow them to continue living in their own home, and to lead the life that they are used to, but with a little support.

You’ll have help in emergencies. Care options can include assistance in emergencies, and your parents may feel reassured in the knowledge that help can quickly be on hand.

You’ll get regular company. Some elderly people can feel isolated and lonely, and the thought of a friendly, regular visitor may be appealing.


What if your parents are still resistant?

Your elderly parents may be stubborn. They may refuse to face the fact that they need care and be totally unwilling to talk about it. You may be patient and compassionate, and follow all the advice above, but still feel like you’re getting nowhere. If this is the case, consider:

Are there other family members who can help? Gentle persuasion from more than one person may be effective. This may be difficult for you to accept, but are there other family members that your parents are more likely to listen to on this topic?

Are there friends of your parent who can also help with broaching this subject? Your parent may find it easier to talk to a peer than one of their children.

Can you involve their GP or other health professionals? Your parent may be more receptive to advice from a trusted third party with expertise.


Find out more

Whatever the requirements of your loved one, learn more about elderly care with Cera or contact us on 0333 455 2502 to discuss the needs of your elderly relative.

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