Just as parents know that at some point, the time will come to talk to their kids about “the bird and the bees,” the children of aging parents know that at some point, the time will come to talk to about long term care.
It can be difficult to know how to approach the topic, what to say and how to help the conversation go smoothly. Even if you try your best to be sensitive, your parents or other aging loved ones may feel like they’re a burden, or that you no longer care about them.
Here are some tips for communicating effectively with your loved one and showing them that you’re simply trying to find the most comfortable, safe and efficient way to meet their needs.
1. Be Proactive
Many families make the mistake of waiting until an illness or injury forces them to seek the appropriate care. The rush creates stress for everyone, but it can be avoided by exploring options before a crisis occurs. This also gives your loved one time to get comfortable with their options, and you’ll have time to talk through different possibilities together without any added pressure.
2. Be Open
Before you actually sit down for “The Talk,” let your loved one know you’d like to discuss their future. This will keep the discussion from feeling like an ambush or intervention and give them a chance to think about what they want to say, too.
3. Be Prepared
It’s wise to do research before you talk about what’s next so you can develop a clear idea of what you want to say. Research different options so you can address different questions, concerns or preferences your loved one expresses.
Look at bringing care into the home as well as different senior living communities. Because home care services can help with daily activities like light housekeeping, meal preparation, bathing and other needs, they can often help elderly adults remain in their homes longer. This makes them a good option for those opposed to relocating.
When you talk, prioritize the topics you feel are most important and emphasize that additional assistance will help your loved one be more independent and have more time to enjoy life.
4. Listen to their needs
As you explore options together, be sure to take your loved one’s preferences into account. Listen to their fears, understand their priorities and try your best to accommodate them. Voice your concerns in a loving manner but don’t be afraid to be firm. Use persuasive techniques rather than arguments or threats which can make your loved one feel fearful or powerless.
5. Take a breather
Sometimes, conversations don’t go smoothly. Maybe they didn’t have a good day, maybe you’re tired or maybe something else is making one of you irritable. Don’t be afraid to table the discussion and try again on another day. It’s a chance to cool down and an opportunity to come up with additional ideas.
ComForCare of Palm Beach Gardens is the premier provider of private-duty, non-medical home health care allowing people to age comfortably, safely and happily in place. Services include meal preparation, light housekeeping, grooming and hygiene help, transportation assistance, medication reminders and more. To learn more, visit comforcare.com/palmbeach.