Caring for a Parent

When it Comes Time to Have that Hard Conversation

When it comes to move your parent from their home and broaching the "nursing home" or "assisted living" conversation, experts like Stella Henry, R.N., author of The Eldercare Handbook  (HarperCollins, 2006) say "this is probably one of the hardest decisions a child will ever have to make." 

Often, putting a parent in a nursing home is the most loving act that a child can do because it improves the quality of the parent's life from a medical and social perspective.


Avoid the crisis, don’t wait till the last minute to start having a conversation with your parent.


No matter what your parents age, now is the time to begin communicating about the future.


Many parents don't want to burden their children, after all they are the parent. They sometimes hide important things from their children because they don't want to scare or burden them. But the reality is that having open communication takes the ‘bite’ out of making tough decisions.


By showing your parent that you are on their side and are genuinely concerned about their well being, it can make a real difference on the outcome. 


You don’t have to go this alone. Have open conversations with your brothers, sisters, children, uncles and aunts to address your parent’s needs.

 

Come up with a game plan, and delegate if you must some of the burdensome tasks of arranging additional care for your parent.

There’s an old saying that we ‘can choose our friends’ but not our family, and for this reason when families get together, there can sometimes be personal issues brought to the table.


It is vital for your parent to understand that change can sometime be hard and that the entire family is there to help, not hash out old issues.


Often it only takes one disgruntled family member to urge a parent to stay in their home, making placement in assisted living nearly impossible.

One of the most important things is to decide is who will make the critical decisions. Ideally one family member that is capable are appointed as the parent’s primary advocate.


This person will oversee financial decisions and act as the parent’s durable power of attorney for health care.


For more information on what to do, just give me a call. I will sit down with you to discuss how to gather financial data, basics of a will or trust, what goes into a health directive, finding housing, breaking down final expenses, making burial arrangements and final wishes.