Where do we begin?
- Having an open and honest conversation with our parents. If possible, include others in the conversation that will support your parents’ decisions and help you meet your objective.
- Prepare notes or create a list of topics. These guidelines will help you remain on topic and the list can be left behind after the discussion.
- Encourage a doctor’s visit. If you feel that your parent may be showing signs of weight loss or other physical issues, encourage scheduling a doctor’s appointment.
- After the medical appointment, encourage follow up. Were new medications prescribed and are they being taken regularly? Do therapies need to be scheduled or other follow up appointments or tests?
- Investigate safety issues. Do grab bars or railings need to be installed? Should additional lighting be in place? Are trip hazards, such as throw rugs, a concern?
- Is driving a concern? Would it be helpful to encourage part-time assistance in the home with tasks such as errands or housekeeping? Should home-delivered meals be established through a local agency?
All of these topics may be hard discussions to have with your parent and it’s important to remember that conversations may need to occur over a period of time or repeated in a different format. But most importantly of all, please remember to approach your parent in a loving, dignified and respectful manner.
In most cases, our parents have expressed a desire to live independently and it’s our hope that we can help them achieve that goal while assuring their safety and dignity.
If you would like to view some additional ideas on conversation starters, please view our final video in the 4-part video series, “Taking Action: Where to Seek Help for Your Senior”.
Another excellent location for additional resources is your local Harris County Area Agency on Aging.
If you have tips on handling difficult conversations with your parents, please join our forum below.