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Talking to your parents about their future care

It’s difficult to talk to ageing parents about elderly care and their future plans. Read our tips for talking to elderly parents about care and support.

December 01, 2017

Elder care options

Helpful hints for talking to your parents about their future care 


1. Plan ahead

It can be difficult to know when to talk to your parents about plans for their future. Generally, there is no time like the present; sweeping it under the carpet can lead to a stressful and panicked decision during the middle of a crisis.

It’s far easier to have a relaxed discussion around what care and support they would prefer whilst they are in good health and coping well. Take your time so they don’t feel under pressure to give an answer straightaway.

It might help to make a mental list of the topics you’d like to bring up like health, loneliness, finances, housing or moving in with family.


The topic of elderly care can bring up all sorts of fears and anxieties for both adult children and their relatives. This could range from a fear of offending and upsetting the relative, to a general denial around the fact that they are getting older and might need additional care. There can sometimes be a cultural element involved especially in communities where caring for parents is an expectation and not doing so can be seen as ‘selfish’ or ‘uncaring’.

Dr Soha Daru

2. Do your homework

Take the time to source information on the different care and support options available. Finding the right solution for you all is key.

Consider seeking advice from experienced organisations, like Taking Care or Age UK, to receive personalised, practical and co-ordinated solutions, including how the health and social care system works, benefit entitlements and certain legal matters.


3. Go online

Go online to find the benefits of the latest technology on offer. Simple solutions, such as personal alarms, elderly fall alarms and GPS alarms around the home, can make a huge difference and provide your parents with the confidence to maintain their independence and 24/7 reassurance for you.


4. Assessments

Consider a safe home assessment.  These can provide invaluable advice on what aids and adaptations could make life easier. Many organisations and charities offer a home assessment service and will visit your parent’s home to recommend improvements and specialist equipment to make the home safer and more suitable.


5. Listen to your parent’s opinion

It’s important you talk together as a family about potential situations that might arise and the challenges you may face. Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine a lifetime of looking after yourself and being in control; it’s often hard to recognise or accept you may need help and support to remain independent. For some this may go as far as complete denial of any problems associated with ageing and insist ‘we are managing’ and ‘we don’t need any help’. They might be scared or worried, so be patient.

Be honest about your concerns, so you don’t go away feeling you haven’t covered everything or reached the right agreements.


6. Different scenarios

Presenting different scenarios is often an effective approach and makes it easier to discuss potential issues you may encounter. It can be less threatening to think about it happening to someone else and consider what they would do in that situation.


7. Touchy subjects

Talking money with family is never fun, but it’s crucial not to shy away from it. Legal matters like Powers of Attorney and Wills are best agreed early and can only be entered into when an individual still has full mental capacity.

Unanswered money matters can hang over you and whilst it may be uncomfortable talking about it, it can put your mind at rest once its dealt with.

Remember: The more we can talk about the future, the more we can understand each other’s priorities and preferences and the easier it will be to prepare and feel happy you are following your parent’s wishes.

Don’t put the conversation off.


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Ways to support independent living

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

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