If you have identified that your parents are struggling with mobility around their home, and in particular with climbing the stairs, then a home lift may be the ideal option for them. However, many adult children may find it difficult to know where to start a conversation with their parents about installing a lift.
When your parents reach a certain age there is often an interesting shift in the relationship. The parents that once nurtured you and helped you find your way in the world might suddenly become the ones who need the help, either physically or emotionally. But the change in balance is not that straightforward; firstly they are still your parents and chances are you still have the traces of the parent/child dynamic. Secondly they may not accept that things have changed and may not notice that they need the help that you can so clearly see they need. Thirdly, sometimes there may be a refusal to accept help or advice, no matter what their needs are.
Use tried and tested communication techniques
When discussing sensitive issues about their health, age and future with your parents always aim to use best practice communication skills, asking open questions, offering ideas and options rather than advice, and listening to their concerns. Empathise with your parents, thinking about how it would feel if you were them. Where appropriate bring in other family members to help with the discussion, but not in a way that makes your parents feel cornered or pressurised. Ultimately the conversation needs to be respectful and adult-to-adult and if at first they say no, accept that, agree to disagree as it may take more discussions over a longer period of time for them to see the need as clearly as you do.
So what is the best way to bring up the subject of installing a domestic lift?
Of course, no one knows your parents like you do, and you will find your own way to speak to them, but here are a few ideas.
Focus on the benefits
Perhaps the main barrier that you are worrying about is implying to your parents that you see them as old or incapable. No one likes to think of themselves as too old to do something or becoming immobile. Rather than focusing on what they are currently finding difficult, it is perhaps a better idea to focus on what a home lift will enable them to do.
Having easy access to every floor of the home means that rooms that are not used as much are brought into reach once more, and those daily tasks like clothes washing and moving things around the home suddenly become much simpler. Many domestic lifts can be installed in a surprisingly number of locations.
Talk about the family home
If your parents live in their ‘forever home’, maybe even the house you were brought up in, you can point out to them what a great place it is, and how hard they have worked to get it just right for them. You could raise the fact how often when people get older they end up leaving the home they love, to downsize to an apartment or bungalow and how they have to do away with possessions they love. By installing a home lift many people find they can stay in their family home forever.
Explain that domestic lifts, such as the range offered by the Home Lifts Experts, use cutting edge technology to be discreet and inconspicuous if that is what they prefer, or that there are lifts that are so beautiful you would want them on display. Point out that by installing a lift you also add value to a property – and home lifts offer many advantages over stairlifts. By focusing the conversation on the house, you can avoid talking too much about aging and health issues.
If your parents are unwilling to discuss their current mobility, you could try talking about the benefits of future-proofing the home. Maybe explain that although you can see they are coping fine now, you want to make sure they will be able to live independently far into the future. By talking about a future scenario you can acknowledge to them that you feel they are just fine at the moment, and create a more adult-to-adult conversation.
If spending money on a home lift is a barrier to your parents seeing the value of a lift, you can let them know that there is funding available for people with certain disabilities to provide appropriate mobility aids. You can also discuss with them the cost of installing a home lift compared with alternatives which might be needed in the future.