Home Health Care News

The 70-40 Rule: Conversation Starters (Part 4)

For the second time in six months, you’ve neglected to pay the electric bill. At age 83, you’re starting to forget a few things around the house, and feel like you need a little extra help. You’re afraid to tell your family, though, for fear you’ll lose your independence. What do you say?

The first step here is to figure out what you can deal with yourself. It’s essential to consider the tools you need to compensate for minor memory lapses and the like. If you’re forgetting to pay bills, consider setting up automatic payment systems. If you’re forgetting to take medication, purchase a device that will automatically remind you. If the issues you’re having are limited to a few minor ones, you may be able to deal with them easily. If you are having problems with a broader range of issues, then you may need to bite the bullet and talk to the family. Before you do so, prepare.

Figure out what you think the key problems are, and the kind of help you need. If you go to the family with a generic “I can’t cope!” then you may well find yourself in a nursing home. But if you go to them with a clear list of the areas in which you’re having problems (paying bills, driving, heavy housework), then you are more likely to work out specific solutions with them. Try starting with “Susan, I like living here and it’s very important to me to stay living independently like I am. But I’ve been having problems with these two things. I’m  hoping you can help me figure out how to keep things straight with my money and my medications.”

Your adult daughter has been feuding with your grown son for several years. This situation is upsetting you more and more. How do you tell them what this is doing to you?

Typically, people in this type of feud are unaware of how much it affects people other than themselves. This is a situation where you need to get the person to see your side of things. First, think about exactly which aspects of the feud disturb you. Is it when they fight in front of you, or when they criticize the other when she/he isn’t around? Address the specific issue with each of them separately. For instance, “Joe, when you fight with Debbie in front of me, it really makes me sad. I know the two of you don’t get along, and that probably isn’t going to change, but I don’t think I can be around the conflict anymore. When you’re around me, just try to be nice to each other, OK?” If this doesn’t work, then the best strategy will probably be to avoid situations when the two people are together. Tell each of them individually that you won’t be attending gatherings where they are both present.

If the issue is them talking about each other when the other isn’t present, then just gently redirect the conversation every time it happens.

You’ve just attended the third funeral of a close friend within a year’s time. The toll of all these losses is starting to wear on you emotionally. You’d like more support from your family, but how do you ask?

If you are losing a lot of friends and are feeling sad or hopeless, then you may need some more substantial assistance: Depression is not something to take lightly, and it can be treated effectively. Don’t be embarrassed to talk to your doctor about these kinds of issues. Being sad all the time is not a “normal” part of aging. So don’t necessarily think that family members are going to solve this problem. However, support and companionship from your family can definitely help.

If family members live nearby, try to set up a regular time for getting together. “Hi Son, how are you doing? Listen, I’ve been feeling like I just need someone to talk to a little more. Is there one evening each week when I could buy you dinner and we could just chat?” If family is far away – physically or emotionally – consider contacting the Home Instead Senior Care network. The company has many compassionate CAREGivers who would be willing to provide you companionship and support.

Home Instead Senior Care is an in-home health care provider located in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina serving individuals and families in the Myrtle Beach and Grand Strand area for over 11 years! We offer assistance to those in need for companionship, home help, personal care, short-term recovery, Alzheimer’s care, Respite care and many other services to make your life easier.

© Home Instead Myrtle Beach
p) 843. 357. 9777
f) 843. 357. 9779
11746 Hwy 17 Bypass, Suite B
Murrells Inlet, SC 29576