Why Getting Advice from Friends is the Wrong Answer When Helping an Aging Parent

We count on our friends for support. And we sometimes ask them for recommendations since we trust them. So, when it comes to helping an aging parent, many of us turn to our friends. And, they can be a wonderful support system. 

However, our experience shows that friends aren’t the best place to turn for resources and advice when it comes to an aging parent. We will share why and how to go about getting the information you need.

Advice for Dealing with Your Aging Parent: The Best Intentions May Not Yield the Best Results

Your widowed elderly father is struggling at home. It seems he is having memory issues and he’s had a few accidents. You chat with one of your friends who you know has cared for her aging parent. She tells you step-by-step what they did and how pleased they were with the care facility where Mom moved. When you express uncertainty about what’s going on with Dad and whether he’d do well in a facility, she tells you all the reasons why it’s the best choice. Therefore, you begin to feel uncomfortable if you bring up other options or don’t want to make the same choices.

While your friend probably has the best intentions, she only knows her situation. Your Dad (and your family) may not be happy doing what she did. And, your Dad’s needs, financial situation, and other factors may mean that facility isn’t feasible for him. Additionally, because these topics are so deeply personal, either of you may start to feel judged by the other even if that was not meant.

The Professional Difference

Each elder client and family we work with brings their own circumstances and history. When our care managers assess a client, it helps us determine personalized recommendations. There is not one right answer. Often, simple, creative ideas can help as much as a major change. And, the solution you need today may evolve as things change with your aging parent.

Also, importantly, we’re able to help you ask questions and put things into place to make any solutions work better. For example, with even the best home care or facility, the outcomes of care are largely dependent on the information provided to caregivers, the care planning and management process. You’d be surprised how the little tips and tricks we have learned along the way can make a major difference in your experience.

So, in your case, we start by gathering information and listening. Your care manager would first want to figure out what is going on with Dad and what his needs and wishes are. We bring that together with our expertise with a broad range of situations as well as resources and how all the services and programs work. Think about one, two or even a handful of friends with specific experience compared to a care manager who has worked with hundreds of families. Not only is the experience exponentially broader, but the care manager offers a deep level of expertise.

There’s a Lot of Bad Advice Out There

Along with not always getting the answers that work best for you, sometimes people will inadvertently give you just plain bad advice. Be wary of getting legal and financial advice or information about programs and eligibility from friends or the internet. Time and time again, we hear people acting on advice about things like Medicaid or Medicare that they picked up from a friend. Sometimes it turns out the person giving the advice was in another state (or even just another county) where things worked differently. Following incorrect advice can cost you and your aging parent.

People call us with questions and they often have names of programs mixed up or ideas that might lead them to waste a lot of time and effort. Sometimes they make decisions that may later lead to program ineligibility or penalties for the aging parent. This is where the internet and even friends with some experience often fail. Even some well-meaning professionals may not always know the big picture when it comes to all the things that can come into play for your aging parent.

The Best Way to Help Your Aging Parent

These very situations created the need for a better solution. And, thus, the field of care management was born a number of years ago. Care managers have become an invaluable resource for families. Yet, since many of us haven’t dealt with eldercare before we might not have even known the resource existed. You can read more about care management here.

EasyLiving continues to innovate, to make services more accessible and tailored to what people need. Therefore, we launched our Care Coaching program. This unique membership program provides you the peace of mind of having a care management professional coach available throughout your journey.

care coaching for better mother daughter relationship with elderly mother