Talking to aging parents about health care concerns
They took care of us, and now it’s our turn to help them. The first step is to communicate and organize with their help and approval. A professional healthcare manager is an effective way to begin the process with objectivity and a wealth of information. There are many professional advisors located throughout the bay area.
Regarding care needs, an objective care management assessment can help. A care manager approaches the client as an ally.
Aging First Steps To Take
The first step in talking to aging parents about such concerns is early involvement and regular communication. Get prepared with proper advance care/legal documents. Make sure your parents have completed paperwork with their medical providers permitting access to their health information (and/or have an updated Florida Healthcare Surrogate Designation permitting the designee to receive protected health information and help with decisions at any time).
Discuss who will help and how this might work. If possible, start attending some doctor’s appointments (or hire a care manager to attend and coordinate). This helps you to better understand their health picture and spot changes early.
Aging Parents Living Safley
You may notice that your aging parent needs help to live safely and thrive at home. Make note of these concerns and the areas where you think it’s most needed, talking to each parent separately. They may see things differently, so listen to them for clues as to what worries/ bother them. Maybe you worry about Dad’s safety, but he worries about shopping and cooking meals. Mom’s healthcare may be in decline but perhaps she fears to keep up with the household tasks or wants help driving to church group at night. When talking to aging parents about assisted living, focus on the positives that can make life better based on what matters to them.
For memory or cognitive issues, it is best to approach this with sensitivity and simple, concrete examples. Talk this over with your parents and their primary care physician and ask for an evaluation as a way to make sure everything is okay with a memory clinic or specialist
The best medicine of all for aging wisely is the simplest. Love and respect for mom and dad, patience and doing your homework by you.