Starting a conversation about health, finances and living situations with a loved one can be difficult- but it doesn’t have to be. The INALA Conversations series is a resource to help prepare you for those discussions. Let us help guide you through these important conversations with some helpful tips and insight. Positive communication is key!
We see it regularly—mom takes care of dad, dad takes care of mom, and neither are in top health. As people age, the chances of caregiver burnout increases because bodies and minds naturally weaken with age. No one wants to be told he can’t or shouldn’t care for his spouse. But, caregiver burnout is real.
1. Be clear that asking for help isn’t a weakness, but a strength. “Asking for help doesn’t mean you are failing. Everyone needs help sometimes—after all, aren’t you helping someone? Let me help you!”
2. Talk to them about transportation options and discuss their driving situation. Did you know there are companies out there that offer transportation for seniors? Additionally, many hospitals and doctors’ offices have programs in place.
3. Remind them that everyone needs a day off sometimes. Our parents experienced the Great Depression, so many are hesitant to spend extra money on a senior helper when they feel like they can adequately do the job themselves. “Even the Pope and the President are allowed to vacation! One day a week will give you a chance to run some errands for yourself.”
4. Praise them! They do so much to help their spouse. Remind them that they are doing a fantastic job.
5. Do they understand their burnout can be detrimental to more than just their health? If mom is trying to lift dad from the transport chair to the car and she hurts herself, then someone has to come take care of both of them.
6. Talk to them about mental health. “If you aren’t happy, then dad isn’t happy.”
7. Finally, talk to them about the next step. When is the right time to move to independent or assisted living? Learn more about that here.