Talking about long-term care needs with an elderly parent or other loved one can be a difficult thing. You may not know exactly how to approach it without coming off as rude or disingenuous. However, when it comes to a loved one’s health, it is important to cast aside how you feel to ensure that they can live safely and happily later in life. It is especially important to have this conversation before a problem occurs, not after. You don’t want your loved one to feel like
An American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) survey found that two-third of adult children have never had this conversation. This is most likely due to the fact that a lot of adult children don’t know how to engage in this type of talk, or how to begin it. To begin you have to decide who is going to be there during the talk and what the discussion is going to center around.
Keeping your loved one or parent safe later in their life is a priority and talking to them about living situations, such as assisted living or even enlisting the help of a caregiver is the first step. This is especially true if your parent or loved one has experienced a traumatic event in the recent past, such as a fall or the loss of a spouse.
Beginning The Talk
The first step in beginning the talk is setting up how you are going to do it and who’s going to be there. Sometimes it is best for the talk to be a one-on-one, however, if you need someone to back up your points or provide another point-of-view, it may be a good idea to get other family members or loved ones involved. Overall, every family is different, it may be a good idea to disregard some family members when deciding who is invited to speak. In addition, it may be a good idea to talk with close friends and neighbors if they would be a good ally for this cause.
It is best to go over which talking points that you will speak on before speaking with your parent or loved one. Meeting beforehand to talk about these things is recommended. Create a plan on how you wish to talk about this.
After going over the points you will make, the first thing you’ll want to do is set up a time and place to talk with your parent or loved one. This may require the use of some type of web communications like Skype or just over the phone if someone can’t be there or lives in a different area. Don’t forget to choose a location that everyone will find comfortable and convenient.
What To Speak About
Depending on how you are hoping to help your parent, there are a few ways to go about this. For example, if you are just hoping to enlist the help of a caregiver, or become the caregiver yourself, it will take less convincing than, say, getting them to agree to be admitted to an assisted-living or residential care facility.
When speaking with a parent or a loved one about what you feel they should do, it is best to phrase it in a way that expresses that it is an opinion of yours rather than a need for them. For example, choosing phrases like “I think... “ or “I need…” rather than “You should…” or “You need…” are good ways to avoid conflict.
Be sure to remind your parent or loved one that everyone is there because they care and want to help keep them safe. It may be beneficial to even bring up times that your parent may have had their health put at risk, maybe a fall that they have had or another incident.
This is also true for other major events like the loss of a spouse. There is evidence that social isolation like living alone and independently can lead to problems like loneliness and depression.
It is also important to note that you should remember not to raise your voice or encourage any hostility during this discussion as it will only make the situation worse. You should also be aware of when your parent is trying to talk, do not try to speak over them as it will likely lead to an argument. Keep your cool and remain calm during the discussion, even if others don’t.
For some parents, they will dismiss the idea of living in an assisted-living facility immediately or adamantly. If this is the case, it may be best to drop the issue for the moment and bring it back up at another time down the road.
At the end of the meeting, make sure that everyone has clear understanding of the issues, concerns, and considerations presented.
Starting a dialogue between your elderly parent or loved one about changing their living situation and maybe getting them registered in an assisted living facility can be a hard thing to do. Many older adults don’t know how to begin this conversation. However, keeping it calm and honest is a good approach. It may be a good idea to have others present if it will aid the discussion. Reminding your loved one that you have their safety in mind when discussing these things is a good way to go about it. Remember to let your parent speak so they don’t feel ignored during this time.
Assisted living facilities can help senior citizens stay safe and social as they age. Communities like Landmark Senior Living has the medical staff that can keep your loved one healthy and provide enough social interaction and events to keep them happy later in life. At Landmark we have the tools to help your loved one. If you are interested in our facilities and would like a complimentary walk through, please reach out to our admissions team today.