"The Talk": Tips for Convincing Your Parents That It's Time for Help
Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Your parents had many uncomfortable conversations with you along the way.

Now it’s your turn.

It usually happened around the dinner table (which, as you’ll see in this piece, was a bad idea in hindsight). Mom and Dad sat you down and laid it all out. You knew they were right. You just didn’t want to admit it. The one thing they had going for them? The fact that you knew that they had your best interest at heart. It wasn’t easy to hear that you had to go in a direction you didn’t want to go in, but at the end of the day, your parents knew best.

Now, in an odd twist of fate, you are the de facto parent. They are the rebel. They aren’t ready to hear that it might be time to get help. They don’t want to feel like they are no longer independent. It’s not an easy discussion to have. They are going to make faces. They are going to squirm in their seat. They may even put fingers in ears to block the sound of your voice. But, it’s a conversation that you need to have.

It doesn’t need to get to an uncomfortable point. With these tips, the goal is to make the conversation as easy as it can be. Take a look, take a breath, and prepare for…“THE TALK."

Talk Tip #1: Don’t do it at the dinner table.

Find a neutral site, potentially even in public, where emotional ties to the environment won’t factor in. It’s hard to talk about leaving or bringing someone else in to help at the home while you are in the home. Don’t do it too early or too late in the day either. Seniors tend to take a little longer to get going early, and often run out of steam a little earlier as well, so find a time when they have enough energy to feel productive and alert.

Talk Tip #2: Make it seem like it’s their idea.

Ask questions with answers that lead your parent to the ultimate resolution that help is needed. “If you fell while I was at work, what would you do?” Don’t say it to start an argument - rather ask it as if you really want to know the solution. The more “I don’t know” and “I never thought of that” answers you get, the more likely your parent is to come to the conclusion that help is a good idea. 

Talk Tip #3: Come equipped with a plan.

Don’t just bring up the issues without knowing what your plan is. If you are asking your parent to tell you what they would do in crisis scenarios, you had better be prepared to offer a solution. Do some research, find some options and come equipped with the next steps in case your parent says they are interested.

Talk Tip #4: Recruit some star power.

They used to be called celebrity endorsements, but now they are called “influencers.” People that we look up to and respect can influence us to buy products, eat certain foods and even get elder care. You might not be able to recruit John Wayne to make a house call, but everyone has someone they admire in their family or community. Find someone who has always been able to get your parent to see it “their way” and see if they will be a part of the conversation. We don’t always listen to our kids. You might need to bring in the “big guns” for this one.

Talk Tip #5: Be patient.

This “talk” might turn into “talks” before it’s all said and done. It might take a time or two (or a hundred) for your parent to see the light. Don’t make this the only thing you and your family talk about. Take a few days off before revisiting. Start the discussion early so you can get it done before it becomes an issue that has to be forced. Be patient. It’s not going to be easy, but that doesn’t mean it has to be hard.

We are here for you. McGregor PACE is here to help you navigate these waters that you’ve never traveled in before. You are not alone. Contact McGregor PACE today to get some advice on “The Talk” and to discuss all of the options that we have for your family!