Adult children are often faced with the task of talking to an aging parent or family member about getting older, preparing for the future, needing assistance and leaving their home. It’s not always comfortable, but it’s an important conversation to have before it becomes a necessity. Use these tips from Highpoint at Cape Coral to open the lines of communication and start having conversations about the future.
How To Approach The Next Transition
- Write down any concerns you have for your parent or family member. For example, you may be worried about their ability to keep track of medications or take care of chores around the house. Make a list of your thoughts but don’t start putting together a plan on your own. Instead, prepare to guide the conversation in a way that allows your loved one to express their thoughts, concerns and plans.
- Plan a time to talk and make your loved one aware of your concerns ahead of time so they won’t feel blindsided by the conversation and can put together their ideas. Let any siblings and other family members know about your planned discussion so they’ll feel included if they aren’t able to be present.
- Educate yourself on different options in senior living. You’ll find a range of options out there – everything from independent living and in-home care to assisted living and continuing care. If you’re realistic about the amount of help your loved one truly needs, you’ll ensure they end up with the proper level of care.
- Try to talk in person if possible, and choose a time when you’re both well-rested and can talk without interruption. Consider a neutral site outside of your loved one’s home and even the possibility of involving an outside person who’s close to the family, such as an attorney, physician, minister or friend.
- Ask questions, choosing words that are supportive and non-confrontational. Be respectful and empathetic to let them know you care about their ideas for their future. Use open-ended questions such as:
“Where would you want to live if you ever decided you would rather not live by yourself anymore?” “What kinds of things could you use help with?”
“How has it been for you living at home alone?”
- Listen closely to their responses and assure them that you are their partner in addressing certain needs or issues in their life. Make sure you are hearing their complete answer before offering your opinion or advice. If the conversation gets too emotional, stop and resume at a later time.
- Continue the conversation. This process may take some time. As long as you aren’t facing an emergent health issue or major safety risk, you can plan for future discussions in order to develop a mutually agreeable plan.
By having this conversation sooner rather than later, you’ll be more easily able to understand your loved one’s hopes and desires for aging – and therefore better able to help them navigate through life’s transitions. Contact us if you have additional questions or would like more information about Highpoint at Cape Coral.