Bringing up the topic of home care to elderly loved-ones can be a daunting task.

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The reality is that some conversations are just plain difficult- even with the people to whom you feel the closest. When preparing to discuss a difficult topic, it helps to establish and follow ground rules like the ones below. Remind yourself of these simple tips on talking about home care to loved-ones.

Start Discussions on a Positive Note

-Try not to approach the conversation with preconceived ideas about what your loved-ones might say or how they might react. Emphasize qualities about them that you admire and respect.
-Don’t wait until it’s too late. The ideal time to begin talking is when things are on an even keel between you and them. Use the opportunity to start the conversation while they are still in good health and well. Once a serious illness, fall, relationship problem, or financial difficulty presents itself, it is much more difficult to have this kind of conversation.
-Include other family members. You are not in this alone. Get all the issues on the table and gather support from siblings and other relatives.
-Explain the purpose of your conversation. Let your parents know that you are concerned about them and that you want to do the right thing for them as they age. This will help them better understand why you are bringing up sensitive issues.

Approach the Topic With an Attitude of Listening- Not Telling

-Treat them with respect- they have lived a long time and have seen, experienced, and learned a great deal during their lives.
-It will be more effective if you offer options, not advice. Remember to ask for their ideas. Include them in the idea phase. Express your concerns rather than telling them what they should do.
-Listen and don’t be afraid of silence. Use open-ended questions that foster discussion rather than closed questions that are answered with a “yes” or “no”.
-Make sure that everyone is heard- especially those family members who might be afraid to tell you what they think. Ask people what they think or want, and wait for a response.

Understand Your Parent’s Need to Control Their Own Lives

-It is important to remember that your parents have a right to make their own decisions. At some point, you may need to balance your parent’s independence with their safety, but try not to take away their sense of control over their own lives.
-Give your loved-ones room to get angry or to be upset. Address these feelings calmly. Recognize how hard it is for them to talk about this with you. Tell them it is upsetting for you to talk about it too.
-Let them know that they are not alone. These are difficult and uncomfortable decisions. Make reference to yourself and your own thoughts about what you want for the future. Let them know that these are decisions that everyone will have to help make. Say, “I really want to know what’s important to you. I’m going to have to do the same thing for myself one day.”

Agree to Disagree

-Recognize that even though your heart may tell you that you’re right and that you know what needs to be done, you and your parents may disagree with each other. Bullying your way through- even if you are “right”, is likely to be counterproductive.
-Phrase your concerns as questions. Let your loved-ones draw conclusions and make choices. You increase their buy-in if you do.
-Re-evaluate if things aren’t working well. If you find the conversation isn’t going well, try and assess what is going wrong. Perhaps you aren’t coming across the way you thought you were. Or perhaps it is time to get more information or add a third party to the conversation.

Provide Information

-You can play an important role by serving as a resource and by providing materials for them. Identify the government programs and benefits like prescription drugs, health care, utilities, etc., that are available to them.
-Be straight forward with the facts. Do not hide negative information.
-Provide options and stay positive about the final outcomes. Try to look at a “Plan A” and a “Plan B” as well. Incorporate all possible ideas.
-End the conversation on a positive note. Recognize that this is a hard conversation for everyone to have. It’s OK to continue the conversation at another time- maybe even necessary and helpful to give people a chance to think things through.

Allways Home Care can help you bring up this difficult topic with your loved-ones. For more information, contact us

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Bringing up the topic of home care to elderly loved-ones can be a daunting task. The reality is that some conversations are just plain difficult- even with the people to whom you feel the closest. When preparing to discuss a difficult topic, it helps to establish and follow ground rules like...