Noticing the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease, such as increasing forgetfulness and difficulties communicating and problem-solving, can be distressing. Still, it’s important to bring the subject up with your parent so they can have the senior services that will best support them. Below are a few tips for discussing Alzheimer’s disease with your aging parent.
How Can You Talk About Alzheimer’s Disease With an Elderly Parent?
1. Have the Conversation Early
Don’t put off talking about Alzheimer’s disease; instead, sit down with your parent as soon as you start observing symptoms. Alzheimer’s disease is common; in fact, one in 10 Americans over the age of 65 has it. Every situation is different, but you may notice it early enough when your parent still has some or most of their cognitive functioning. They can give their input and have some say in the care and senior services they want to receive. You can also encourage them to see their doctor; in many cases, early use of Alzheimer’s medication can slow the onset or severity of the disease.
2. Invite Them Into a Discussion
It’s not uncommon for an aging parent to become defensive when their child brings up their health concerns. This could be interpreted as an attack. So, don’t approach the conversation with a list of all your parent’s cognitive shortcomings; approach it as a discussion that you invite them to take part in. Use a subtle conversation-starter, such as, “If I noticed changes in you that concerned me, would you want me to tell you?” or “I’m thinking about long-term care planning for myself. Have you given any thought to what you would want?” These are both ways of initiating a dialogue, not an attack, to get an aging parent to think about the senior services and care they may want.
3. Be Persistent
This is not always an easy talk to have. Go into it with the knowledge that it may not go as planned and that you may need to revisit it again in the future. If your parent becomes overly upset by the conversation, it’s fine to shelve it for now but come back to it again in the next few days. Your persistence will show that your concern is real and serious. No matter how your parent reacts, maintain calmness and steadiness throughout, as your parent may start to mirror this behavior and become more open to the discussion.
As you plan caregiver support with your aging parent, the professionals at Sally’s Place are here to help. Sally’s Place is an adult daycare center located in Swanzey, NH. They offer senior services designed to keep your aging loved one safe and cared for in a comfortable, stimulating environment that encourages social interaction and cognitive engagement. Call (603) 338-0073 or visit them online to enroll.