Are you worried about your aging parents? Do you notice things on your visits that concern you? Do your parents say, “we’re fine” and brush off your concerns?
Leading up to Father’s Day, we’re running a series of “taking care of Dad” articles. Aging fathers may be especially reluctant to ask for help or admit to health or day-to-day concerns. We’ve worked with many elder Dads who ran businesses or were at the top of their profession, and the transition to potentially needing personal or household help is very difficult.
Whether you’re worried about Dad, Mom or both, we’ve polled our expert eldercare team for the top ways to ease your aging parent worries.
Top tips for easing your worry about your aging parents:
- Assess where the situation stands. Getting a professional assessment can give you peace of mind about how your aging parents are doing, or point out needs in an objective way to help you reach agreement about what needs to be done. If you don’t think there’s any way your aging parents will agree to “be assessed”, give our team a call. We’ve been through this a lot and can offer best approaches and make it a good experience for you and your aging parents.
- Get key information. If your aging parents are reluctant to share details about their lives (money is a big one), ask them to at least let you (or someone) know where they keep important information and to make a contact list of people who assist them (attorney, financial advisor, doctors, neighbors). Of course, if something should happen and they are incapacitated they should have executed legal documents (Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Surrogate, etc.) so that you can step in to assist. Read our Aging Wisely team’s post about assisting aging parents with healthcare needs.
- Even starting small can ease your worries a lot. Rather than pushing for big changes and getting nowhere, find out if there are areas where Dad would accept help (perhaps he wants to feel in control of household projects, but would be willing to get some physical assistance…or perhaps he’d love to have someone come in to handle laundry and ironing). This will be an extra set of eyes and ears checking in on him, and can build a comfort level with getting help.
- Know where to turn if a problem arises. The uncertainty of not knowing how they’re doing (addressed in tip #1) is worrying, but so is the idea that you’ll get “the call” and not know what to do. See tip #5 or start with some online research about what’s available in their local area (and understanding key issues like what Medicare covers).
- Consider talking to someone about your feelings and concerns, even if (or especially if) your aging parent refuses to do so. This can help you emotionally, but also from a practical perspective. You can get some advice, such as ideas that will help you approach the situation or resources to help now or in the future. Just knowing about some of the options can make you feel better. Also, an independent party may give you peace of mind that you are doing all that you can and things may not be as bad as you think.
If you’re worried about your Dad, give yourself a Father’s Day gift this year by talking to someone about your concerns. You will feel a lot better and you may find out some great tips for taking care of Dad! Call us for a free consultation at 727-447-5845. We can recommend eldercare services in your area too.