It’s difficult to imagine the person who took care of you as a child losing their ability to take care of themselves. This is an unfortunate reality with aging parents that can be hard to accept, but it’s one that you and your parents can benefit from acknowledging. We’ve created a list of difficult topics to discuss with elderly parents—as well as tips for doing so—for individuals who are fretting over having these harder conversations with Mom or Dad.
Whether They Should Still Be Driving
Taking away a parent’s car keys is often one of the first difficult topics to discuss with elderly parents that you will need to address. This can be an especially tough conversation to approach, as handing off car keys may feel a loss of independence to your parents that they’re understandably reluctant to accept.
Approach this discussion with plenty of empathy, ready to listen to their perspective. Losing their freedom to drive may be a saddening thought for them, so it’s very important that they feel heard. Together, you can figure out what the best option for their car is once they are no longer driving.
Whether They Could Use Assistance Around the House
If you notice your elderly parent’s home gradually becoming more and more unkempt, it might be worth suggesting some extra assistance around the house. You should always be sensitive when approaching the subject, as you don’t want to ridicule their habits but offer a solution. The cause of their disheveled environment could be a lack of physical mobility, a decrease in energy, or emotional distress, so it’s essential to have compassion when communicating your concerns.
Is It Time To Downsize or Sell Their Home?
Should your parent struggle to get around their own home safely (i.e., go up and down stairs, get in and out their tub/shower, reach their kitchenware), it might be time to downsize. This can be a difficult idea for your parent to reckon with, depending on how long they’ve resided in their estate or how attached they are to it.
One way to bring up selling the home and downsizing is by mentioning all the mobility advantages a smaller home will have. The decrease in financial costs is very noteworthy, too.
Discussions Surrounding End-of-Life Care
At a certain point, your parents’ needs for assistance may become a larger responsibility than you’re capable of handling on your own. To support both you and your parents, end-of-life care might be the best route. A few common methods for end-of-life care include the following.
- Hospice care
- Palliative care
- Long-term care facilities
- Hospital-based care
- Home-based care
It’s important that you include your elderly parents in the decision-making process when determining which option is best for them, as choosing end-of-life care can initially be a disgruntling or emotional experience for them, too.
In communicating which end-of-life care option is best for them, it’s possible that a conversation around final arrangements may come up. If your parents don’t have anything settled, you may consider reviewing the basics of pre-need funeral insurance together to determine whether it’s a feasible option to guarantee their final wishes are carried out as desired.