Meet resistance with patience, understanding and humor. / Jacqueline Veissid / Getty Images
Is talking about the needs of our aging parents uncomfortable? You bet it is, says Jody Gastfriend of Care.com, an online resource that helps families connect with trusted caregivers.
Our parents fear losing autonomy and control. We experience our own sense of vulnerability and sadness. Topics like money, health, end-of-life care, even driving can trigger emotional landmines.
Try approaching your conversations by acknowledging your parents’ role as your initial caregivers, and consider the following steps:
Do this ahead of time. Check on local councils on aging, senior centers and home care. Look into program types, costs and availability.
Form a team.
Have a discussion with your siblings before you broach the subject with your parents.
If you fear that your mother is showing signs of dementia, see that she has a thorough medical evaluation. Consult elder-law attorneys in the state where your father resides. If you need help sorting out the options, seek out a geriatric care manager.
Learn to back off.
Resistance is common. Often the best way to address it is through understanding, patience and even humor.