How to Have Tough Conversations With Loved Ones About Elder Care
Initiating the elder care conversation with loved ones is something that many people dread. Your elderly loved one might believe that he or she can manage perfectly fine alone, but you've seen warning signs that indicate help from a caregiver or an assisted-living facility is needed. When bringing this up to an elderly person, you want to make sure that you remain respectful yet clear about your opinion that he or she requires assistance. Here are some great tips to get the conversation started.Choose the right time
Carefully select the time in which you choose to talk to your loved one about elder care. Perhaps take a long weekend to visit your elderly family member, and then find a stress-free time to chat about options for assisted living or an at-home caregiver. Make sure it's just the two of you — or perhaps you and a sibling or someone else close to your elderly loved one — when you bring up this delicate topic.Practice respect
Remember that your elderly loved one used to be your age, independent and agile, so you shouldn't talk down to them or make them feel belittled. It's hard to willingly give up control of one's life by moving to a nursing home or inviting a caregiver into the home. Keep this in mind when you talk to your loved one, and treat them as your equal.Listen
Although it's important to get your point across and let your loved one know that you think it's time to explore assisted living, make sure you are listening to their wants and anxieties. If your loved one feels heard, he or she will be more open to your point of view.Repeat
It's important to communicate effectively, and that may mean repeating yourself several times so that your loved one fully absorbs what your stance is. You don't want your words to be misinterpreted — that will cause confusion and conflict.Position yourself as an advocate
Make sure your loved one knows that you want to work with, not against, him or her. This goes hand in hand with listening and making sure your loved one realizes that you're on the same side. You want what's best, but you also don't want to push them in a direction that is uncomfortable. However, they need to understand that cooperation is necessary in order to guarantee their safety and well-being.Offer another opinion
If the idea of needing help is deplorable in the eyes of your loved one, try suggesting that he or she speak to another person — someone in the community who they respect — who holds the same opinion as you do. Oftentimes, an elderly person will take the advice more seriously if it comes from a doctor or even a member of the clergy.Check your speech and body language
Adopt a way of speaking to your elderly loved one that is not threatening or condescending. Your loved one will pick up on any speech and body language signals indicating that you are annoyed, frustrated or not paying attention. Keep your tone and word choices positive. For example, don't cross your arms or rest your forehead in your palm.Try to end the conversation with a resolution
It's important that you end the conversation with some kind of agreement about the next steps. Even if you didn't accomplish everything you wanted to, make sure that you end the conversation on a positive note and you both agree on what will happen next.
It's never easy to initiate these types of conversations with elderly loved ones, but you don't have to go into the situation completely blind. Reach out to us today for more resources to help you navigate elder care options.