Research Reveals Communication Gap Between Adult Children And Seniors

Originally published on HomeInstead.ieHome Instead Senior Care Launches Campaign To Get Seniors And Their Families Talking 47% say ...
– Originally published on
Home Instead Senior Care Launches Campaign To Get Seniors And Their Families Talking
  • 47% say it is uncomfortable to talk about their parents romantic lives
  • 28% do not want to talk about sensitive topics like health
The quality of communication between adult children and their senior parents leaves a lot to be desired, according to a study from Home Instead Senior Care*. The research revealed nearly one-third of adults have a major communications obstacle with their ageing parents.
Almost half (47%) of the adult children surveyed are not comfortable speaking to their parents about their romantic lives. 28% find it difficult to talk about health and  a further 21% find it challenging to address money issues.
To help get seniors and their families talking, Home Instead Senior Care has published a new guide called “The 40/70 Rule”. It is designed to help adult children and their ageing parents deal with sensitive life topics that often make conversations difficult such as romance, dating and money issues.
The idea behind the 40/70 Rule is that if you’re 40+, or your parents are 70+, it’s time to start talking – at least about certain senior topics. This booklet helps bridge the communication gap between adult children and their older parents and includes a series of situations followed by possible responses for some of the most awkward senior subjects. These examples cover situations that can be addresses early, as well as those that have reached a crisis level”, says Ed Murphy of Home Instead Senior Care.
Some of the key communications tips in the 40/70 Rule include:
1. GET STARTED. If you’re 40 or your parents are 70, it’s time to start observing and gathering information carefully and thoughtfully. Don’t reach a conclusion from a single observation and decide on the best solution until you have gathered information with an open mind and talked to your parents.
2. TALK IT OUT. Approach your parents with conversation. Discuss what you’ve observed and ask your parents what they think is going on. If your parents acknowledge the situation, ask what they think would be good solutions. If your parents don’t recognise the problem, use concrete examples to support your case.
3. SOONER IS BETTER. Talk sooner rather than later when a crisis has occurred. If you know your loved one has poor eyesight or has trouble driving at night, begin to address those issues before a problem arises.
4. FORGET THE BABY TALK. Remember you are talking to an adult, not a child. Patronising speech or baby talk will put older adults on the defensive and convey a lack of respect for them. Put yourself in your parents’ shoes and think of how you would want to be addressed in the situation.
5. MAXIMISE INDEPENDENCE. Always try to move toward solutions that provide the maximum amount of independence for the older person. Look for answers that optimise strengths and compensate for problems. For instance, if your loved one needs help at home, look for tools that can help them maintain their strengths. Professional caregiving services provide assistance in a number of areas including meal preparation, light housekeeping or medication reminders. Or find friends that can help.
6. BE AWARE OF THE WHOLE SITUATION. If your dad dies and soon afterward your mum’s house seems to be in disarray, it’s probably not because she suddenly became ill. It’s much more likely to stem from a lack of social support and the loss of a life-long relationship. Make sure that your mom has friends and a social life.
7. ASK FOR HELP. Many of the issues of ageing can be solved by providing parents with the support they need to continue to maintain their independence.
Call 1890 930 013 to order a copy of the 40/70 Rule. Log on to to download a free copy of the guide.

*Home Instead Senior Care interviewed 1,500 adult children of ageing parents, asking them about their relationships with their parents, and how they handle discussing sensitive topics with older adults.


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