If you have an aging loved one, there will likely come a time when you begin to have concerns about their physical or cognitive health. You might notice that they are forgetting to take their medications or asking the same questions again and again. Or maybe it's that they don't seem as capable of managing the stairs or keeping up with the household chores.
Problems with memory, hearing, vision, and mobility are common as a person grows more advanced in age. But when those issues begin interfering with that person's ability to manage the day-to-day tasks in their life, it soon becomes clear that help will be necessary. Unfortunately, even if you want to provide some kind of assistance, they may simply not be willing to recognize that they need it.
The Power of Denial
For many aging parents or grandparents, accepting that they are having increasing challenges on a physical or mental level can be difficult. They may deny that any adverse changes are happening, even if it seems completely obvious to you. As such, they may not want to admit that they need your help and might even view your attempts to assist as an intrusion on their right to privacy.
Discussing these kinds of things with your loved one can also bring up a lot of difficult emotions for both of you. For this reason, it may be tempting for you to put off having that challenging conversation. However, even though it is hard, establishing a clear channel of communication between your loved one and the rest of your family as soon as possible is essential for their long-term well-being.
Ask for Your Loved One's Perspective
Before you try to get your loved one to make any changes, the first step is often to speak to them so that you can understand how they see what is happening to them and find out what is important to them. At this stage, your main task is to listen rather than to try to get them to understand what your concerns are. Focusing on this side of things first will establish a greater sense of trust between you.
Speak to Elder Care Professionals
People who are trained to help aging adults, such as aging life care experts and geriatricians, have experience communicating with people who need to make changes at this stage of life. If your parent or grandparent is not yet ready to have a conversation, these professionals can help you to create a plan for how to get your loved one a medical evaluation, address critical safety issues, and begin to persuade your loved one to accept some changes.
Bringing in a third party who has a bit more distance from the situation might also make some information easier to accept for your loved one.
Speak to a Bryan Elder Law Attorney
A lawyer who has experience in elder law can help you to understand some of the legal fundamentals you will need to know, such as when “incompetence” or “incapacity” might become an issue. They will also be able to assist you with legal documents, such as creating a power of attorney, that will make it easier to help your loved one. They can also make individualized recommendations based on the particulars of your family's situation.
Our Bryan elder law attorneys are here to help your family navigate the challenges you are facing while directing you toward resources that can help with other aspects of your loved one's care. To schedule a consultation, simply call our office at 979-703-7014.