How to discuss health concerns with aging parents

How to discuss health concerns with aging parents

The people close to us can sometimes notice when something’s wrong before we even know it ourselves. Sometimes, we live in denial about health issues or simply haven’t noticed a change. This can be especially prevalent in seniors. Aging comes with its own bout of ailments and concerns, which are sometimes difficult to notice. 

If you don’t feel your senior relatives are coping well on their own, it might be time to discuss your concerns. Opening up the conversation may highlight issues they’re already aware of, but it’s much easier to find ways to move forward with everything out in the open. 

Some health issues may lead to a change in lifestyle for seniors – whether that’s losing driving privileges or having to move into assisted living – all of which can be difficult to discuss and adapt to. 

The conversation about health and care is never going to be easy, which is why we’re sharing a few tips to help you get started. 

Start discussions early 

How to discuss health concerns with aging parents

By starting discussions about additional care or assisted living early, you have more time to reach a decision that suits everyone. Conversely, by delaying the conversation, you are limiting how much time you have to find a suitable compromise. Plus, according to Brightview assisted living in Bethesda, MD, some senior communities have long wait lists, so it’s important to start researching your options as soon as you think you might be ready.

Ensure your parents are part of any decisions

When it comes to ‘knowing what’s best,’ you might think you’re in a better position to decide things regarding their health, but it’s important to remember to allow them into the decision-making process. After all, this is their life, health, and ability to adapt to all the changes. Therefore, you shouldn’t be making decisions on their behalf without their input unless absolutely necessary. 

Plus, allowing parents to help with the decision will help them feel in control. Encourage them to be an active part of discussions so that decisions can be made as a unit. That way, they will be fully comfortable and aware of the next steps, hopefully making the transition much easier for everyone. 

Show respect and compassion 

How to discuss health concerns with aging parents

At any age, our parents can drive us up the wall. But when discussing their health in later life, it’s integral that you empathize and show compassion. Think about putting yourself in their shoes; how would you be feeling? How would you want to be treated? 

Change can be difficult and overwhelming, and the idea of leaving things behind, almost unthinkable. Make sure you take any changes at a pace that’s comfortable for everyone and try not to let out frustrations on your parents. 

It’s also important to show respect for them, the sacrifices they’re making, and the belongings they want to keep. 

Moving into an assisted living will likely require a lot of downsizing, but you need to show respect when it comes to the things they hold dear. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as the saying goes. 

By maintain good and honest communication, starting early, and letting your parents feel in control, the discussion about health and care in later life can be a positive and painless experience.