It is always best to tell the truth, right? Even so there are times when some truths are better left unsaid or at least worded more positively, especially when talking with aging parents. Although we may have the finest of intentions in wanting to help senior parents navigate life, we are able to help prevent hurt feelings in our loved ones by rethinking statements such as the following:
- Don’t you remember…? Short-term memory loss is actually quite common in older adults, and pointing it out so candidly can be belittling. As an alternative, try non-verbal tactics to help jog your loved one’s memory, like strategically placing positive reminder notes at home, like on the refrigerator, bathroom mirror, TV remote, etc. If a verbal reminder would still be helpful, make sure you try to keep your tone light; and inquire if the senior would like you to assist, such as in making a medical appointment for her or getting a prescription.
- You’re just not trying hard enough. The reality is, many older adults develop physical or cognitive impairments that make once-simple tasks extremely difficult. It’s also important not to take control over tasks the individual can still do, but that may take a bit longer to do. Offering to act as a partner in accomplishing a hard task may also be effective, such as asking the senior to manage an element of the task as you tackle another part of the task.
- I’m aware; you already told me. It may be frustrating to listen to stories you have already heard over and over again from an aging loved one, however it’s important to be patient and offer the senior the respect you would want if the tables were turned.
- When you die, am I able to have…? Nobody really wants to feel as if their possessions are of such value that somebody cannot wait to have their hands on them. In case the senior doesn’t have a will set up that outlines his or her wishes, it is definitely a good idea to have that looked after, but let the person have the freedom to select to whom his or her belongings ought to be given.
- Wake up! Forget about any feelings of embarrassment you might have about your senior loved one dropping off to sleep at inappropriate times, such as during a movie, a religious service, or a concert. Altered sleep patterns, prescription medication side effects, among other factors, makes it difficult for some older adults to sleep well during the night time.
Caring for aging parents presents unique challenges, but working with professional home health care providers, like North River Home Care in Boston MA, can help you keep the lines of communication open and positive. For more effective communication ideas to help senior parents maintain the dignity they deserve, call us today at (781) 659-1366.