Have That ‘Difficult Talk’ With Aging Parents

By Andrea Sears of Public News Service
For The Post Publications

HARRISBURG PA – Family gatherings during the holidays are a chance to relax and share, but they can also be an important opportunity to start conversations about caregiving, according to AARP Pennsylvania. Older adults in the family may need more help than they used to, but talking with them about serious topics like safe driving, personal care and finances can be difficult.

Estella Hyde, a state volunteer with AARP, suggests adult children ensure these are two-way conversations. “It’s important that you ask the person for input,” she said. “Ask them if they’re having difficulty handling different situations. The conversation, and having it open and two-way, is important.”

AARP will hosts a free webinar Dec. 6 (2016; Tuesday) at 3 p.m. titled “Caregiving & the Holidays: Signs, Expectations & Tips for Long-Distance Caregivers.” Registration for and information about the session can be found online at the AARP Caregiver Resource Center, here.

It’s also important to observe, and to ask the right questions, Hyde cautioned. “Are they healthy, are they eating okay? Are they taking their medications, are they keeping their doctors’ appointments? And then safety, what kind of a situation do they live in?,” she suggested.

If there are signs a loved one does need extra help, Hyde recommends researching options like public transportation, help with shopping, or getting them some extra assistance in the home. “You want to offer them support and some alternatives so that they can be safe and live independent for as long as possible,” she explained.

AARP also recommends family caregivers should find the support they need themselves, in order to keep giving support to others.

Photo from Public News Service