Annie waited too long to have that talk with her parents. It was too late to have it now as they were both beyond comprehending the seriousness of their situation. As a result, she had to break the bad news to a long lost brother, and deal with her resistant parents who had convinced themselves that they were independent in their own home, while she had to make some very difficult decisions for them.
It’s never too soon to begin the discussion of aging. But if you have put it off, ease into that conversation as soon as the first, what may seem minor event occurs which indicate a loved one’s independence may be in jeopardy. Since it is difficult to begin such a talk, here are some suggestions which may help:
- use another family’s situation or news story as an example or starting point.
- cut out an article or an ad as a reference point.
- ask questions at a family gathering, but keep it light.
- plan a family meeting with the agenda known by all beforehand.
Starting the conversation with “I” statements ensure that you will not sound accusatory and lets your feelings come through. For example:
- I am worried?
- I feel?
- I am concerned?
- I have noticed?
Engage in a conversation, taking turns, instead of talking at others. Use questions:
- What things concern you?
- What do you want to do about?
- What do you want to do when?
Conveying love and concern is important. Sometimes an outside person can have more influence than those in the immediate family. Be patient. If the first attempt doesn’t go well, keep your sense of humor and try again at a later time.
About The Author
Linda LaPointe, MRA is an ElderLife Matters coach and author of several products to assist families experiencing aging including the pamphlet, Don’t Be a Burden: 100 Tips. Get free articles and information at www.SOSpueblo.com.