It can be painful for family members to watch a parent battle with day to day activities they used to find easy and the situation becomes even more complicated when a mother or father is reluctant to talk about his or her complications. They may worry losing their freedom, they may feel they are becoming a burden or they may simply be reluctant to recognize their need for help. They may even suffer from psychological issues or intellectual incapacity, restricting their capability to comprehend or deal with late-life changes. Luckily, a bit of understanding and planning can go a long way toward reducing the anxiety of a tough senior care conversation.
A good first step to determining how to bring up a complicated subject like senior care is knowing the factors why an aging loved one may want to avoid the conversation. “If your loved one is in need of senior care, he or she is likely dealing with loss, physical loss, psychological loss, the lack of independence,” says the Mayo Clinic. “Accepting care might mean relinquishing comfort and adjusting to new routines. As a result, your loved one might feel terrified and insecure, upset that he or she needs help or guilty about the idea of becoming a burden to family.”
Sadly, one of the most wrenching factors why it can be difficult to talk to a senior parent is when mental sickness or cognitive loss is an issue. A 2012 report by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies found that between 14 and 20 percent of American seniors suffer from one or more mental health problems, such as depressive disorders or substance abuse. Furthermore, more than 5 million people in America are living with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Organization. The occurrence of these and other wellness issues in the ageing population make it more urgent than ever for family members to take charge of their loved ones’ well-being. It’s important to start by having a sincere and patient conversation.