PART ONE IN A TWO PART SERIES ON TALKING TO YOUR PARENTS ABOUT LIFE TRANSITIONS
It’s time to talk to your parents about their well-being and safety and you are lost, confused, worried and apprehensive about having this discussion.
The good news is that you are not alone. Many adult children are in a position where they need to introduce the concept of change into their parent’s lives and have no idea where to start. Anticipating resistance might be your biggest inhibitor and is a major contributor to putting off having this discussion.
Tips for Talking to Aging Parents About Senior Care
At Broad Street Home Care, we speak with many adult children about their parents’ needs and ways introduce change to them for their own well-being. No two families are alike so it’s important to create your own method of broaching the subject. But listed below are considerations and tips to help make the discussion more fruitful and less confrontational.
Take Time to Prepare for the Conversation
There are many things to consider before you show up at your parent’s house to speak with them. You know your parents best and their uniqueness is a major factor into the content of the discussion. Taking the time to plan the how, the when, the where and the who can help ease the stress of the conversation and improve the level of communication needed to take place.
In this first of two articles, we will focus on preparation and look at ideas that can help you and your siblings more effectively communicate your collective thoughts. In the second part of this series, we will take a deeper dive into the content of the discussion and explore key concepts to consider covering.
Change is a Process
Rome was NOT Built in a Day. The first thing to remember is that you may not find complete resolution in your first discussion. Change is a process and can take some time. The introduction of the idea may be somewhat disillusioning but if your heart(s) are in the right place, your parents will know.
Make a List of Talking Points
Make a List of the important points you want to discuss. Having notes handy can help keep you on track to cover the key points of the discussion and help avoid getting lost in the emotion of the moment. This list can include:
- Safety concerns
- Your wishes to keep them healthy
- Names of friends who have in home support
- Baby Steps – discuss starting with a few hours a few days a week
- Desire for them stay in their home.
Speak to their Doctor
Consult with their Primary Care Physician. Ask their physician for their opinion on your parents’ safety and well-being. Have this conversation only to gain knowledge NOT to arm yourself with external statements like “Well. Dr. said you need…” Or, “When I spoke to Dr., she said…” This can make your parents feel ‘ganged up on’, ‘ambushed’ or conspired against.
Who Should be Involved?
When it comes time to speak with your parents, consider keeping the numbers small. This is NOT an intervention. Arrange for yourself or one of your other siblings to be the lead. Have this individual introduce the idea in person with your parents and then discuss with the other siblings afterwards.
Be Mindful of the Timing
Sounds like a simple consideration but finding the right time to broach the subject can directly impact the course of the conversation. After a meal is generally a better time as opposed to when every one is hungry or anticipating company.
Choose Where to Discuss Senior Care Options
Having this discussion in your parent’s home can help them remain empowered. Taking them out of their comfort zone, to your house or a different location, can create a defensive environment and their wanting to retreat to the comfort of their ‘safe place’.
Value Your Parent’s Input
Remember that your parent’s input has a tremendous value in finding the right solution. No matter how you ultimately have the conversation, having your parents’ input and valuing their perspective from the onset will result in better outcomes. This idea or concept of respecting their input needs to be part of every planning discussion with your siblings. This will help YOU feel less defensive if the conversation turns confrontational or upsetting.
Elderly Care is Never an Easy Discussion
It’s never easy to discuss otherwise uncomfortable issue with anyone. This can be especially challenging when it comes to family. Remember that you are not the first family to cross this bridge and not having the conversation can have more significant consequences than the discomfort of the conversation.
Broad Street is here to help you cross this bridge.
Our team of clinicians and support staff can help guide and counsel you throughout the process. We are much more than a Home Care company and are happy to help.