How to start the care conversation with a parent

How to start the care conversation with a parent

For a son or daughter, talking to a parent about the need for care can be very hard

Kitten therapyKnowing how to start the care conversation can be very difficult. Not only are the usual family roles reversed, with the son or daughter effectively becoming the ‘parent’, but there are also delicate issues of maintaining trust throughout.

In the case of a parent with dementia, for example, the parent will often not realise that they need care, and that makes things more challenging for the family.

This problem can of course also arise with a relative with other health challenges who is reluctant to accept they need help or who is perhaps afraid of losing control or moving out of their home.

Ideally the conversation would start before your relative needs any care – by making sure they have made a power of attorney. Waiting until they actually need care before you do this can make things more difficult.

Someone with dementia may not be aware of the hazards and dangers they’re exposed to without care, but how far do you go in forcing them to have care?

Perhaps the person is no longer able to wash and dress properly, but seems unaware of this.

Maybe their short term memory is such that they don’t remember what they have or haven’t done at any given time.

Perhaps they insist they can still ‘pop to the shops’ for anything they need, when the reality is that they don’t – and can’t.

They may be adamant they’re eating properly, and yet it’s clear from their weight loss that they’re not.

And of course, if you do manage to start the care conversation, but your relative doesn’t remember afterwards, it can feel as though you’re continually back to square one.

If you’re in this kind of situation with a relative, or if you have been in the past, how have you handled the care conversation? Have you involved other support services straight away, or have you handed things on your own? Have you been able to put care in place carefully, without too much objection from your relative, or has your relative refused to let carers in?

Add a comment below to share your your own experience and ideas. It will be really valuable for others in the same difficult situation.

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