Helping Hand: Conversations about getting older

It happens to the best of us. That defining moment when we realise our parents are getting older. For some of us, it’s a sudden wake-up call; for others, it’s a gradual realisation that things are changing.

Helping Hand has been supporting older South Australians and their families for almost 70 years. People from all walks-of-life have chosen to share their journey with us. In return, we have listened and learned from their experiences.   

Over time, common threads and themes have emerged. In this instance we are talking about when to have a caring conversation with a parent about getting older. However, this advice can apply to a partner, a sibling, a relative or a friend.

Timing is everything

We believe the best time to start a conversation with your parents about their wishes and goals, is always before you absolutely need to.

One of the benefits of early conversations about aged care is that you create a calm space to find out how the system works and how to navigate it. Once you start putting the picture together, you’ll learn about what services are available and how they align with your parent’s circumstances and their preferences.

The My Aged Care website is the starting point for everyone who is looking for information on government funded services. myagedcare.gov.au

Put yourself in their shoes

Coming to terms with changing health needs, independence and the need for a little help can be distressing. You may instinctively want to jump in and start ‘fixing the problem’. Before you do, ask yourself how you would feel if decisions about your lifestyle were being made for you, instead of with you.

Your parent’s voice, their life story, wishes and rights should be the focal point of every conversation.

A little help can make a big difference

Quite often, a little support is all that is needed to continue living independently at home. Help with
day to day tasks such as hanging out the washing, preparing meals, and general home and garden maintenance can take a bit of the pressure off.

Starting with home care services can be a way of addressing the current challenges your parents are facing, while allowing them to remain in their own home and in control.

Trusted partnerships

When you are ready to talk to someone about the support that’s available, it’s important to find an
aged care provider that reflects your values and goals. When people choose to share their journey with Helping Hand, we see it a privilege and a true partnership.

We understand that having a conversation with a parent about getting older can be challenging and emotional – for everyone. We’ve developed a series of short films, where you can follow one family’s experiences, from different points of view, as they find themselves making decisions about aged care.

You can watch these films at: helpinghand.org.au/wehearyou


helpinghand.org.au

1300 653 600

info@helpinghand.org.au

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