Telling Elderly Parents

Some people with ALS are concerned about sharing difficult news with their elderly parents. There is no one right answer, and you’re encouraged to listen to your instincts on this, and to discuss with other family and to consult the Mental Health Nurse at the ALS Association. Some frail elderly may never need to know. In many cases, however, the parent knows something is wrong and will only feel isolated and more anxious if not told what is happening in front of them. Telling them gives them the opportunity to be involved in caring for you and for having access to the mutual support of the entire family at the same time. You may want to tell them in small steps, starting with news that you are getting testing done and waiting for results, and seeing how they handle this information before, perhaps, moving on at another time to say you’re getting a second opinion on the results, or eventually, that the diagnosis was confirmed, and possibly later again, what it means.


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