If you are a caretaker for one of your parents, or you have noticed that their health has been declining recently, it may be time to bring up the subject of future care needs. This isn't an easy conversation, and it should be handled with sensitivity. For help getting the conversation started, you can try some of the following ideas.
Be Casual about the Conversation
You can start the conversation over dinner, possibly mentioning that a friend just moved into an assisted living facility. You don't want to scare your parent, with big statements such as "you should go to a nursing home soon," but instead bring the topic casually into your conversation. Talk with your parent about their future, but don't make them feel as if you are ready to place them in a facility immediately.
Honesty Goes a Long Way
This is your parent, and they know when something is bothering you. If you are taking care of your parent in your home and you are getting too stressed out, your parent will know this. Start the conversation by mentioning that you could probably use more help, as their care needs have increased. Reassure your parent that you are there for them, but that you may need more help to get the job done right.
It's OK to Laugh
While watching your parent decline in health isn't funny, there are times when the two of you will laugh at the absurdity of life and aging. In these moments, it is not only OK to laugh, it is essential to laugh. Go with the flow, and if you need help caring for your parent, don't be afraid to ask for it. While you may have a good sense of humor and an excellent outlook on life, caring for an aging parent is a difficult task. Let your parent know that your first goal is to keep them safe, and if you are no longer able to do so, it may be time to move to a more professional setting.
Speak from Your Heart
What your parent really needs to know is that you love and support them through their journey. Reassure them that you are there for them, to listen to their wishes, and to help facilitate all of their care needs. When you speak from your heart, your parent will feel the love that you are giving to them. You can be clear with your parent that they need a higher level of care, such as an assisted living facility, but lead with love to help ease the transition.