Are you ready to tackle those hard to start conversations with your adult children? Are you a caregiver needing to address major aging issues with a parent or loved one? Here are some ways to begin, and some suggestions on what to do to help make those hard to have conversations less difficult.
Plan Ahead: Prepare your children or parent that a conversation needs to be had. Schedule a time that works for all to be focused and not distracted. Leave the TV off, the grandchildren at home, and sit around the living room or kitchen table to keep everyone comfortable.
Ask Advice: Asking questions, rather than telling people what to do is always a more welcoming conversation starter. You might ask your parents how they dealt with their loved ones as they aged. How would they like to move forward? Bring up a topic you’ve read about and begin a discussion. For example: I saw an article on home care yesterday, and I thought that may be helpful for me when you’re at work.
Be An Active Listener: Remember you want to know how all parties feel, to take all issues into account. Be sure not to talk over one another. Repeat what you’ve heard to make sure you understand what has been said. For example: Mom, what I heard you say was that you want to do what it takes to stay in your home as long as possible, is that right?
Use “I” Statements: “I” statements are not judgmental! For example: “I am concerned about you driving and I would be happy to make transportation arrangements for you to get you where you need to go. This will be received much better than “You shouldn’t be driving!”
Be Respectful and Kind: Remember aging initiates change and loss. Be understanding, respectful and kind as you work through this difficult time. Treat each other as you would like to be treated.
Often times having difficult conversations with professional guidance would be beneficial, contact a professional counselor or Geriatric Care Manager, like Care-Connect, offering family mediation to help guide you to planning and resolution.
Care-Connect is a Geriatric Care Management Program connecting seniors and their caregivers to appropriate and professional service providers. We arrange, coordinate and monitor the care of you or a loved one, based on a comprehensive assessment of medical and personal needs.
For a list of all of our services see our website: www.care-connect.org