Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

How to Approach an Elder Loved One When Family Caregiving Is No Longer Enough

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Fri, Apr 19, 2019

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Today, the vast majority of elder care services provided to tens of millions of American seniors are performed by close family members. It is hard work that often involves a myriad of sacrifices. Although we do not say it enough, family caregivers are truly unsung heroes.  

Sadly, there usually comes a time when even the most dedicated family caregivers are no longer able to provide the best level of care for their aging loved ones. Whether due to illnesses, like Alzheimer’s Disease, a debilitating injury, or as a result of aging, the demands of senior care may eventually surpass a family’s capacity to give.

This may be when it is time for outside assistance. Unfortunately, the transition can be difficult, especially for the older adult and the current caregiver. It is important for the entire family, however, to see the forest from the trees and maintain perspective. What is best for the elder adult should override all other considerations. Let us share several tips with you about how to break the news that a different form of caregiving is necessary.

Be Understanding.

The uncertainty of change can cause confusion and friction regardless of age. It is important to understand this about seniors, and empathize with them. If they are resistant, realize that there are likely complex emotions at play, such as fear, anger and  abandonment. It is also reasonable considering they are vulnerable and transitioning away from family and into the care of strangers.

Explain Why It Is Necessary.

Explain the benefits of outside care, and that accepting it will not just be good for them, but for the whole family. Explain that you both will need to compromise on some things. Do not make quick decisions and ask for their input on caregiving solutions.

 Do Not Take it Personally.

 It is easier said than done, but when an elder person lashes out, try not to react. Showing patience, focusing on the big picture, and picking your battles can help both of you feel in control and manage the stress for all involved as you guide them forward.

 Decide Together.

 No ultimatums are needed. Set up care options to address an aging parent’s needs, and allow them to test the waters in this new experience. Create options for caregiving when you can and ask them for feedback. Explore the benefits and drawbacks together.

 Finally, do not wait to contact an experienced elder care attorney for assistance. Attorneys in firms like ours are specially trained to be able to help families navigate these waters. Do not wait to ask us your questions and let us serve as a valuable resource for you in virtually all aspects of transitioning beyond family care.

Tags: in-home care, elder care journey, elder care, family, caregiver, care costs

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