As the Canadian population ages, children of seniors are increasingly challenged with parents who need support.
In many instances, parents resist this assistance, as it often represents a loss of independence. How can we plan for these changes?
As is the case with most things in life, we can make the most progress with an open honest discussion. Families should include all interested parties in the process– siblings, friends, neighbours. This will ensure that down the road when important decisions need to made, everyone will feel included.
Consult the Professionals
Often the advice of a physician will assist families faced with elder care challenges. Not only will the physician’s input carry weight, the parent will have an independent “second opinion” from someone not involved in the process.
Get the Paperwork Done
If it has not been addressed recently, this is a good time to revisit your Will, and Powers of Attorney. In the process of discussing wishes, it can led to a discussion on current personal needs. Although these can often be difficult discussions to have, a proactive approach will likely help the parent to accept life stage challenges with grace.
Is the House in Order?
Enlist the help of some family members and hold a family gathering to ensure your parents’ home is free of clutter.
This will relieve everyone of additional pressure associated with concern regarding a fall due to clutter or other hazards. It will also hopefully make the process fun, and pave the way in the event that a move is required in future.
Support the Family Caregiver
Part of the difficulty in providing support to elder parents, and especially those who resist it, is that the caregiver also needs extra support. For those in the position of assisting, making time for oneself is key. Make certain that you take time to look after your own needs – take a walk, go for a massage, whatever it takes to maintain your balance.
Go for a Tour
A tour of some local retirement homes can be very beneficial. If your parent likes the idea, this will make an inevitable transition smoother. If they do not like the idea, it may help them to be less resistant to help in their own home.
Aging parents require time and consideration as they make their way to acceptance of the changes this life stage can bring. Kindness and an attentive, respectful approach will give family members the best opportunity to maximize their “golden years,” with the knowledge that they will have the support they require. Respect is Key!