How To Communicate?


We currently care for my husband's parents. They live in an in law quarters on our property. They are both in their early 80s and he suffers from Parkinson's which is in the latter stages. His dementia is beginning to be a problem and he is now dependant on a walker for assistance with mobility. His wife cares for him and handles his medications (many many many meds) as well as all the driving. She is also beginning to show signs of dementia and we're concerned that she should not be handling his care anymore. She will not allow anyone else to help with ADLs or his meds, but has asked for some help with driving on occasion. She refuses to admit she needs help and he won't allow her to ask for much. Is there a tactful way to clearly let someone know that they are no longer safe without daily assistance? Or do we just wait until someone falls or really gets sick before we step in?  My husband and I are both in the medical field.

Judy in Kansas, 55

My book “Elder Care Made Easier” discusses communication in-depth. It is the first step of the book and I consider communication the most important aspect of elder care. Your husband’s parents may not truly understand just how much is being done for them. Discuss how all of this is worrying you, how it is impacting you, and how you are concerned for their safety. The elderly are often so worried about their own issues that they don’t understand the impact everything is having on others.  Communicate with them in a direct, positive manner, and you will be on the road to a better situation for everyone involved.

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