Aging Happens – How to Prepare And Take The Next Step With An Elderly Loved One
Unfortunately, discussions on preparing for our senior years are rare. At the very least, not as soon as they should. Comfort Keepers® offers suggestions for overcoming the discomfort that often prevents adult children and parents from starting these important discussions – whether about long-term senior care and finances, health care, end-of-life decisions, driving, or home safety.
The greatest advise is to organize such conversations carefully and think them through so that they are as positive and beneficial as possible. Make a list of things you believe should be mentioned so you don’t forget anything.
Also, don’t think of this critical opportunity as “The Conversation,” but rather as a series of talks. Rather than attempting to handle everything at once, address one issue at a time. That makes it less daunting. Starting modest increases your chances of success.
Here are some more ideas for getting the conversation started:
- Begin as soon as your parents’ health permits them to participate completely and communicate their wishes, requirements, and preferences. Otherwise, your decisions may be influenced by a life-altering incident and may not reflect your parents’ wishes.
- Choose a time and location that is convenient for everyone. Avoid special family events such as birthdays and holidays. Choose a time when you won’t be rushed so you can have a pleasant, leisurely chat, giving your parent plenty of time to express his or her wishes. Include other family members, but meet first to ensure everyone is on the same page and to avoid an unproductive, hostile situation.
- Use effective communication skills. Maintain eye contact with your parent and come near enough to them without breaching their personal space. Closeness fosters trust and enables you to talk – and be heard – in a steady, controlled tone. Share an experience of your own to smoothly transition into a discussion about your parents’ future plans. A medical emergency involving a friend or relative could also provide an opportunity for conversation.
- Pose open-ended questions that encourage your parent to express their emotions. Then take a seat and carefully listen to find out what is essential to him or her. Provide alternatives rather than advice. Pose questions and provide more than one viable solution. Inquire with your parents about their preferred option. This incorporates them in the decision-making process and gives them control and independence.
Seniors Can Start The Conversation, Too
You don’t have to wait for your kids or friends to bring up the matter if you’re a senior who wants to plan for the future. Adult children frequently dislike thinking about their parents’ aging and are hesitant to bring up the subject. You can take the initiative and determine what type of care is needed with Comfort Keepers. We will provide a unique care plan for you and offer our expertise.