How To Talk To Mom or Dad When Safety Has Become an Issue

Becky Cholewka: Hi everyone. I wanted to offer a few more tips for having really tough conversations with family members who have reached their senior years.

As parents approach their senior years, sometimes we need to make sure that they are in a safe environment, which may mean that sometimes they’re going to need to move from their home to some other type of independent living facility or assisted living facility. Trying to make those long‑term goals and plans available to someone can be frightening for the person on the other end.

One tip is always make sure that you are identifying what their worries and threats are. For example, we had a client that was worried about not remaining in her home because she wanted to make sure that she was able to stay with her cat who she loved.

mom in her senior years sitting in bed with daughter giving her a glass of water Gilbert AZMaking sure if you find out what mom’s worries are about, you can make sure that you can accommodate, to the best of the ability, those concerns that she might be having regarding moving somewhere else.

Another tip is to remember that you always want to make sure you offer to have as much independence for someone and to have parameters in place that offer and maximize that independence. For example, we don’t have to go straight from living at home to a 24‑hour nursing home facility care if that’s not what is needed.

Sometimes what is needed is maybe mom needs to have someone just come in to the home for a few hours a couple of days a week to maybe help fill up her prescription bottle, to maybe tidy up the kitchen, help her lay her clothes out for the week.

We want to make sure that we’re maximizing independence, and giving choices and ideas on how to keep mom in her home, if that’s truly her goal and wish. There’s lots of ways we may be able to accomplish that if our goal is to truly make sure that we are honoring her wishes to the best of her ability.

Also remember, choice is power. When you have lots of identifiable choices that your family can utilize, there’s much more power for that parent, especially mom or dad to say, “You know what? There’s three things you’ve told me about, and I think I really want to try B.”

That still gives them that independence and that power to make decisions for themselves. As long as we’re presenting choices that are all going to keep them safe, feel free to look out for those other opportunities that we can offer to make sure that they still feel that they have power in their own life.

Above everything else, make sure that you are throwing in lots of doses of love, and concern, and joy for these individuals. Because as we age, sometimes we get a little frustrated and think that people are doing things because they don’t love us anymore.

That’s not the truth. We just have to present these conversations in the best way so that the other party knows how much you are doing this because you love them.

Good luck with these conversations. We hope that you’ll watch some of our other video tips on having tough conversations with family members in their senior years, If you are in need of resources or additional services to help care for Mom or Dad, please call our office as we work with many trusted partners in the senior industry and would be happy to provide information to help you get started.

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