Taking the first step into aged care can be a daunting experience. In this episode of Grey Matters, Tracey Silvester chats to Ben Davis about how to get started.

When it comes to having the aged care conversation with mum and dad, how should you approach the subject and what are the dos and don’ts when talking to your parents about a move to aged care.

To listen to the podcast – press the ‘play’ button below.

Key points discussed:

  • Ways to bring up aged care with your parents
  • Mistakes that are often made
  • First steps in accessing care
  • When to bring up aged care
  • Understanding your parents perspective

Read Full Transcript

Ben Davis:

G’day again. In this episode of Grey Matters, taking the first step with mum and dad, broaching it, even bringing up the subject of them possibly moving out of their family home.

Ben Davis with you alongside Tracey Silvester from Seasons Aged Care.

Tracey, I’m worried about mum and dad. How do I even bring up this conversation? I’m sure there are so many dos and don’ts. What’s the biggest mistake people make?

Tracey Silvester:

Don’t go in and tell mum or dad they’re not coping at home. So, don’t go in there like a bull in a china shop and take over-

Ben Davis:

Good advice.

Tracey Silvester:

… and start challenging everything that your mum and dad have actually held really dear to them for the better part of 50 or 60 years. So remembering that mum and dad are still adults, they’ve been making decisions for themselves for the better part of 50, 60, 70 years. The last thing they need is you, as their child, and remembering for those of us that have got adult children, we still think of our adult children as babies.

Ben Davis:

Of course.

Tracey Silvester:

They still think of you as that little whippersnapper teenager that used to get into trouble, so how dare you come into my house and tell me how to live my life when I’ve been doing all right, thank you very much, for a really, really long time.

We see that all the time. That’s the biggest mistake that children make is they’re really worried about mum and dad, motivated by absolutely the right things.

Ben Davis:

Do you have any tips for then how to start the conversation?

Tracey Silvester:

Carefully.

Ben Davis:

Okay.

Tracey Silvester:

Look, I think it has to start early, so I think if you notice that mum and dad aren’t coping with things. The first thing might be that the house isn’t as clean as it used to be, so one of the really easy things you can do is suggest to mum or dad that they maybe get a cleaner. I think it could be quite nice for mum, who’s been keeping house forever, just now acknowledging they will never clean as well as you do, mum.

Ben Davis:

That’s the big thing.

Tracey Silvester:

But they will be able to clean the bathroom because I know you hate cleaning the toilet, mum, and I know dad makes a big mess in the bathroom, so someone to clean the bathroom would be a really great help. I know how much you hate vacuuming under the bed, I know how much you hate mopping the floor. How about we get someone in to just do that really heavy stuff for you because then that gives you the time to do the things you want to do.

So you start really gently with the things that you know are really irritating your parents, and then, over time, it’s things like the maintenance of the yard. So if dad’s not able to get out and mow, maybe get a mowing man. Because the reality is, most older people actually want to stay living at home. They don’t want to leave their home. They want to stay where they are, and I’d like to think that the majority of people with the right support can do that.

Ben Davis:

The answer or perhaps the outcome you’re looking for isn’t going to happen overnight, it’s not going to happen next week, it’s not going to happen next month.

Tracey Silvester:

That’s right.

Ben Davis:

It may be 12 months down the track.

Tracey Silvester:

That’s exactly right. They are a generation of older people remembering who didn’t have a lot. We call them a silent generation for a reason.

Ben Davis:

But they’re also very stoic-

Tracey Silvester:

Absolutely.

Ben Davis:

… and very proud.

Tracey Silvester:

Yes. It’s not okay to put your hand up and ask for help because we never did that because we weren’t use to having a lot, and so we actually would just get on and make do.

I think the other thing is to also make sure that your parents are getting good healthcare as well, so at the very least making sure that they’re seeing their GP regularly because that could be the difference between them staying home and potentially having a catastrophic event like a major fall. Conversations I’ve had with old people is in the … and not to scare them, but to say, “Look, you know, if you don’t think about this, this could be the outcome. So it’s your choice, but there’s consequences to that choice as well.”

Ben Davis:

Community living.

Tracey Silvester:

That’s right.

Ben Davis:

Tracey, again, great advice. Thank you so much, and remember, Grey Matters.

Season’s Aged Care

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