How to Talk to Elderly Parents About Senior Care

As your parents get older, you might start to notice the signs that they could benefit from some senior companionship or care. Maybe you’ve noticed that basic daily tasks are getting very challenging for them, or perhaps you’ve noticed that they seem lonely, irritable, or depressed.

It is perfectly natural to worry about your parents as they get older and to want to help them get the help they need to stay healthy and happy.

That being said, starting a discussion about senior care with your elderly parents is far from easy. You might worry that they will be offended, defensive, angry, or hurt.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Let’s take a look at how you can have an effective and productive conversation with your parents about the possibilities of receiving senior care.

Preparing For a Conversation With Elderly Parents About Senior Care

Having a difficult conversation with your parents can be nerve-wracking, but some preparation can make the whole process much smoother. Do some research ahead of time and prepare yourself rather than jumping into the conversation prematurely.

Prioritize Self-AwarenessDaughter feeding elderly mother with soup - Care Partners

It’s important to recognize your own emotions around the topic of senior help before talking with your parents. Having some self-awareness about feelings like fear, anger, or a sense of being overwhelmed can help you approach the conversation in a more calm and productive way.

Do Your Research

There are many different options for senior care, and some of them might be more appropriate for your elderly parents than others. Learn about the different levels of care that can be received at different facilities or from different organizations.

Create a List of Your Concerns

It’s natural to start worrying about your parents as they get older. Before starting a conversation, make a list of the concerns you have. For example, maybe you’re worried that their home is no longer safe for them or that they are starting to have trouble with daily activities.

Work Together With Siblings or Other Loved Ones

You don’t have to do this alone. Work with your siblings or other loved ones before talking to your elderly parents. Incorporating other perspectives might help to create a more positive outcome for everyone.

Prepare to Keep Notes From Discussions

Discussing senior care is an ongoing process. It’s a good idea to record your parents’ thoughts from each conversation, as this can make it easier to follow up in the future.

Conversation With Elderly Parents Tips

While talking about senior care might not seem very appealing to your or your parents, it’s a necessary conversation to have. Let’s take a look at some additional tips for how to ensure that the conversation is productive and goes well for everyone involved.

adult african american son looking at disabled senior father in wheelchair - Care Partners

Talk in Person If Possible and Be Mindful of Time and Location

It’s best to be able to have a conversation about senior care with your parents face-to-face. However, if this isn’t possible, a video call is the next best choice.

Make sure you choose a time when everyone involved will be relaxed and well-rested. Make sure that the location of the time allows for the conversation to occur without interruption.

Have the Conversation as Early as Possible

It’s best to have this conversation before a health crisis occurs. It is better to be able to consider the options before it becomes an emergency, as it will remove a lot of pressure from the planning process.

Remember to Listen

While it’s very reasonable for your to have concerns about the form of senior help your parents will receive, don’t forget that they also might have concerns, anxieties, or objects about moving to a different location or receiving help. It’s important that you don’t minimize these feelings, but rather acknowledge them and work to understand how they feel.

Be Empathetic, Not Sympathetic

No parent wants to feel like their adult child is pitying them. Remember to be empathetic and understanding by working to understand their fears and frustrations and keeping a calm voice and demeanor.

Don’t Rush

Once you’ve done your research, you might feel ready to make a decision. However, your parents may need time to make their decision. It’s important to not force the issue and allow them the time they need.

Never Argue or Correct a Loved One With Dementia or Alzheimer’s

When a person has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, trying to convince them that they are wrong about someone is fighting a losing battle. If one or both of your parents is suffering from a neurological condition of this sort, it’s important to keep it in mind during the discussion.

Consider Asking Questions Rather Than Giving Advice

Cropped shot of elderly couple holding hands while sitting together at home - Care PartnersIt’s often tempting to give advice, but it can often be more helpful to ask a thoughtful question. A much more effective way of planting a suggestion is in the form of a question rather than a lecture.

Keep the Conversation Going

Decisions this large will likely be made over a series of talks. Rather than talking about it once and then moving on, remember that this is a process rather than a one-and-done situation.

Remember, It’s Ultimately Their Decision

Unless your parents are suffering from mental incapacitation, it is their choice what they end up doing. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember this and to try and be empathetic and understand where they are coming from no matter what they choose.

Are You Looking Into Senior Care Options For Your Elderly Parents?

Having a conversation with your elderly parents about senior care can be intimidating, but it’s important to try and have the discussion before a health crisis forces the issue. You might find that your parents have given quite a bit of thought to the topic themselves and have some ideas on what they are looking for in the future.

At Care Partners, we offer transitional medicine, home care, and senior placement services. If you and your loved ones are looking for additional resources, would like a complimentary assessment, or want to learn more about our services, contact us today!