It is painful to watch our loved ones begin to struggle with the daily activities of living. We want to broach the subject of care but it can be uncomfortable and we often avoid the difficult conversation that needs to take place. Your loved will have fears about losing their independence. They may feel that they are coping sufficiently and are unwilling to acknowledge the reality of their need. Consider that the cognitive impairment that so often comes with aging through dementia /Alzheimer’s may be impeding their ability to process and cope with the changes in their abilities.
Taking steps to be proactive about care for your loved one is a gift you give both your parent and yourself. Consider these tips when it’s time to talk to your loved one about bringing in a support worker to assist with the tasks of daily living.
- Acknowledge their feelings around loss and grief.
- Reflect on the personality of your loved one before you sit down and talk about the changes that need to be made. Do they respond best to direct conversation or will they respond better to a less direct approach.
- Pick a time when you are both relaxed and not stressed. If you attempt to talk when you are both already feeling stressed then the outcome will be less then optimal.
- Don’t criticize or debate their fears. Allow them to talk openly about their fears about losing privacy, independence. Work through their concerns with them and reassure them that getting support will prolong their ability to be independent.
- Talk with care providers, doctors, health care workers and support services beforehand to get information so that you are armed with answers as questions come up with your loved one. The more information you have the better you will be able to reassure your parent or loved one.
- If your loved one is in need and is resistant to even talking about receiving support enlist the help of your family doctor to explain that assistance with their daily activities will help keep them healthy and safe.
It is very important to remember that when dealing with the challenges of caring for your aging loved one that you are not alone. Remember there are services and resources that are specifically designed to assist your loved one with the tasks of daily living. Taking care of yourself is also about taking care of your loved one. Reach out and get the expertise and the help you need.
Christine Rudman is a Social Worker
and founding partner at WellStory Senior Care