PART TWO IN A TWO-PART SERIES ON TALKING TO YOUR PARENTS ABOUT LIFE TRANSITIONS
If you haven’t read the fist part of this article, it may make sense to take a moment to read the first article in this series: Talking with Aging Parents Part 1 which focuses on the steps you can take in preparing to speak with your parents.
If you are still having reservations and feeling of stress about the actual discussion, you can always speak with the Care Managers, Nurse Supervisors and Advocates on Broad Street’s team. They have deep experiences related directly to this matter and can advise you along the way.
So here we are. By now you’ve made the appropriate arraignments with your parent(s) and are ready to have the discussion about transitioning. You’ve prepared yourself and put together a list of the topics you want to cover. You have the input from their doctor or therapist or Care Manager. You’ve assembled the family members or friends relevant to the discussion. You know where and when you are going to meet.
So, this should go flawlessly, right?
There are no absolutes in these discussions but it’s important to anticipate or at least acknowledge the potential for some friction. By our nature, humans are not especially fond of change. So be mindful that you may not reach 100% resolution in this introductory session. As discussed in Part 1, CHANGE IS A PROCESS.
You certainly have an inclination as to how your parent(s) are going to react. In some cases, parents are fully accepting of the idea. Their wishes to age in their home are well known, you are just there to start the process of searching for support.
In other cases, the degree of anticipated resistance may seem like an insurmountable hill to climb. At a minimum, the seed needs to be planted.
A son of aging parents (who we’ll call Ken) contacted Brian Lebens, Director of Client Services at Broad Street. Ken was concerned about his parents but knew that they were by no means interested in receiving support. Ken was hoping to gather some information about Broad Street’s Premium Home Care Service to present to his parents.
Brian reached out to Ken a few weeks later to learn that Ken’s parents rebuffed to notion of needing support and flatly rejected any further discussion. One month later, Brian received a phone call from Ken…
Brian, he said, both of my parents are in the hospital. They both fell last week and are being discharged in a couple of days. Ken went on to say that his father is requesting that Broad Street arrange to have their nurses visit them to begin the process of finding support.
It was evident that the previous discussion, although rejected at the time, was actually well received and Ken’s parents heard every word.
The point of this illustration, is obvious. Even though your parents might not be ready to hear your wishes or are not open to the idea of accepting support, introducing the idea will have an impact on their disposition whether it is obvious or not. Having this in mind when you speak with them can help relieve some internal tension you’re feeling.
Other key things to keep in mind when you speak with them
- LISTEN TO THEM. It is important that you acknowledge what they are saying. Incorporate their wishes into your statements about their wellbeing
- BROAD STREET’S CARE MANAGERS ARE HERE TO ASSIST. If needed Broad Street’s Care Managers can help you in preparing or actually broaching the subject.
- DON’T MANDATE YOUR WISHES. Have a discussion with your parents as opposed to issuing blanket statements as to ‘what you’ve decided’.
- ASK YOUR PARENTS TO TRY IT FIRST. Your parents may fear a total loss of control if they agree to allow someone to come in and help. See if they are amenable to a trial period of 2 to 4 weeks of support.
- USE CONCRETE EXAMPLES OF YOUR CONCERNS. If you can cite examples of issues in the past that you would like to avoid, you may find agreement easier to achieve.
- MAKE IT POSITIVE. Talk about how having support can enhance their lives and enable them to do more and worry less.
- FINALLY, DON’T TELL YOUR PARENTS THAT YOU’VE MADE A DECISION. Remember that this is a discussion. A process. As stated in Article 1, Rome was not built in a day.