Thursday, April 3, 2014

How to Know When It’s Time to Intervene in Aging Parents’ Lives

It’s important to respect your senior’s desire for privacy and independence, but sometimes it simply becomes necessary to step in and help out. Adult children often feel conflicted about how much space they should grant their elderly parent, and struggle to know when it’s appropriate to intervene. While there’s no cut and dry answer, use these guidelines to help decide when your assistance is necessary:

Are they going to hurt themselves or others?

You don’t need to step in when it comes to picking out curtains for their home or choosing what they eat for dinner, but if the situation becomes more dire and they could harm themselves or others, it’s time to get involved. If, for instance, your senior is still driving and it’s clear that their vision is very poor, it’s time to say something. If your elderly loved one is unable to take their medication properly, it’s necessary to intervene and talk about elder care services. Pick your battles, but know that if the issue could seriously impact senior health, it’s time to get involved.

How to step in

Once you’ve recognized that it’s time to intervene, broaching the subject can feel like a challenge. You want to assist, but don’t want your senior to get indignant or upset. There are a number of different ways to offer your opinion without causing offense, for instance:

  • Bring up a friend’s example: If you believe your elderly loved one could benefit from elder care services, talk about a friend or neighbor who has enjoyed this kind of help in the past. When they realize that they’re not alone and that senior care is normal, they may become less resistant to the idea.
  • Listen: If your elderly parent feels as if you’ve quickly discredited their opinions, they may get defensive and angry. During a conversation, it’s important to listen closely to what they have to say, and to take these points seriously. From there, you can address each point and explain your point of view. Quickly telling them why they’re wrong will cause the discussion to go poorly.

When having a serious conversation with your senior, understand that they value their independence and decision-making abilities. Respect this need and desire, and be careful to enter into a discussion between two adults instead of a lecture. 

1 comment:

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