As your loved one starts to get older, the need for difficult and sometimes sensitive conversations arises. Your parents might not like having to discuss a future where they no longer will be living in the home that they love and have lived in for years or even decades. As an adult child and caregiver, however, it's important that you start to understand and become aware of your aging parents’ future health care needs.
For this reason, we’ve put together the below list to give you some ideas of how to start the discussion.
Tips for Talking with Parents
If you are unsure how to have difficult conversations with your parents, here are a few good tips to make it easier.
Begin with the Basics
When starting off the conversation, make up a list from outside sources to help eliminate any stress that could be added to the conversation. You should include questions about the health history of your parents' and their views on finances, healthcare, and legal documents. Your parents' views might not be in line with yours, so it’s best to keep an open mind and really listen to them.
Have the Discussion Early
Wanting to put off that sensitive conversation with your loved one is only natural. However, both of you will be better off if you start the conversation early. You shouldn't wait until their health declines or there is some type of family crisis before you plan the next step.
Set Up a Plan
You don't want to improvise when it comes time to speak with your mother about the need for her to stop driving or the fact that she might be better off making other living arrangements. You might want to have some key points that you and your loved one want to discuss written down before you begin talking. You could make some points that a better living arrangement could mean privileged freedom for them and the opportunity to socialize, enjoy activities, and pursue interests.
When handling issues that might seem heavy—like getting your parents' estate in order or having them move out of their home, you need to show empathy when you approach the subject. Find out your loved ones' feelings or concerns on the subject. Acknowledge their fears or feelings of loss, and try to reinforce that this is a new opportunity for them to build rich friendships and delight in the good things.
While you are having the conversation, be aware of how the conversation is impacting your parents. Do they seem agitated or overwhelmed? Once you get going, the conversations will get easier, so it’s important you don't give up. Your ultimate goal is to advocate for them and preserve their wishes, but do what's right for them, too.
Independent living at The Esquiline revolves around recreation, socialization, relaxation, convenience, and freedom, as well as spiritual and intellectual stimulation. To take your parent on a tour of The Esquiline, give us a call at 800-533-6279.