Aging Parents

Boomer Children – Aging Parents

Seven Tips for better communication

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Get Started. If you’re 40 or your parents are 70, it’s time to start observing and gathering information carefully and thoughtfully. Don’t reach conclusion from a single observation and decide unilaterally on the best solution until you have gathered information with an open mind and talked with your parents.

Talk it out. Approach your parents with a conversation. Discuss what you’ve observed and ask your parents what they think is going on. If your parents acknowledge the situation, ask what they think would be good solutions. If your parents don’t recognize the problem, use concrete examples to support your case.

Sooner is best. Talk sooner, rather than later when a crisis has occurred. If you know your loved one has poor eyesight or has trouble driving at night, begin to address those issues before a problem arises.

Forget the baby talk. Remember you are talking to an adult, not a child. Patronizing speech or baby talk will put older adults on the defensive and convey a lack of respect for them. Put yourself in your parent’s shoes and think how you would want to be addressed in the situation.

Maximize independence. Always try to move toward solutions that provide the maximum amount of independence for the older person. Look for answers that optimize strengths and compensate for problems. For instance, if your loved ones need assistance at home, look for tools that can help them maintain their strengths. Professional care-giving services provide assistance in a number of areas including meal preparation, light housekeeping or medication reminders. Or find friends who can help.

Stay tuned in. If your dad dies and, soon afterward, your mom’s house seems to be in disarray, it’s probably not because she suddenly became ill. It’s much more likely to stem from a lack of social support and the loss of a lifelong relationship. Make sure that your mom has friends and a social life.

Askfor help. Many of the issues of aging can be solved by providing parents with the support they need to continue to maintain their independence. Local resources can help provide those solutions.

Source: Home Instead Senior Care