How do you discuss needed changes with an older family member? If you ran into risky signs while visiting your older relative in December, try talking to them. Scary.
Convincing an older person that they have problems – can be a row to hoe as my mother used to say. But, you can’t get that crop to grow without planting the seed in your parent’s head. This is a tough job.
If they’re mentally clear, include them in decisions. If you suspect confusion, have the older person’s doctor check mental status on their next medical appointment.A level of dementia could mean you have to make decisions for them. If there is a serious personal or financial risk, you may have to intervene, even if they are mentally clear.
Don’t be “Miss Full Charge”, coming in with guns blazing.You will probably lose. Open up a non- threatening dialogue . The idiom , you get more flies with honey than vinegar works here. Suggest that they would be doing you a favor to make certain changes .Tell them ,you’re worried about them staying independent and you want them to be safe. This can bring out the mother or father instinct in your parent/relative and can help in introducing change.
If it is not an emergency, take time to reconnect with them before you introduce the alteration .Listen to their point of view, worries, troubles and day to day news . Whatever their joy in life, do it with them . Go to plays or concerts, play mahjong. Connect with them on their level of happiness and then begin to introduce change.
If your plea lands on empty ears, use the next doctor’s visit to discuss the issues. He or she can be a point person. Make sure those problems are on the list of items to discuss with their primary physician .Phone the office RN or fax the concerns ahead of time. Avoid an argument in front of the physician .Let the physician do the prescribing.
If a doctor tells an older person they need a careprovider or anything else,they are much more likely to do it . Old/old elders,over 85,tend to still see doctors as experts and listen to what they say. Young/ old ,65 and over are more skeptical but a doctors say so, still carries some weight.
In the meantime, contact a geriatric care manager.