Have you been delaying an important family discussion on elderly care?
Do you find it awkward or uncomfortable to initiate a conversation about an older loved ones’ health and future plans?
Review the tips below for suggestions on how to tackle these difficult topics:
Start discussions early
Often we only deal with these issues in the midst of a health crisis, and this is not the most ideal time for planning. Take the opportunity to talk when your loved ones are in good health.
Include all family members
Make sure everyone is on the same page in understanding your older loved ones wishes and goals. When certain family members are excluded from the process it can lead to difficulties in the future when decisions need to be carried out.
Explain your purpose for initiating the conversation
Make sure your older loved ones know you want to work with them to make sure their goals and wishes are carried out, and that you want them to be involved and do the right thing for them in the future if needed.
Understand they control their own life
It is extremely important to understand that they have the right to make their own decisions, whether you fully agree with them or not. There may be instances you have to balance independence with safety issues, but it is important they maintain a sense of control over their own lives.
Agree to disagree
Their wishes should prevail unless their health or safety is in jeopardy.
Offer options and not advice. Ask for their input and ideas. Use open ended questions rather than “yes” “no” questions. Talk to them, not at them.
Ask about their records and documentation
Know where important papers are. Make sure a family member has access to all relevant records in case of an emergency.
Give them options and have resources on hand to share, and help them navigate their way through this information.
Re-evaluate if necessary
If you find the conversation is not going well take a step back and assess what is wrong. Is it your approach? Do you not have adequate information to answer their questions? Is it poor timing? Would a neutral party such as a Geriatric Care Manager be beneficial to include in the conversation?
Always be respectful
Treat your loved ones with love and respect and assure them that you will be there for them through the process. As we age we are faced with many losses. Make sure they have your support during this time of their lives.
It is important to have these discussions early and often. Our ever-changing world and economy may require a change in plans on occasion, and it is never too soon to prepare.
If you are unsure of the questions to ask, or need assistance in planning with your loved ones, contact Personally Yours Support Services, LLC to help ease the process. Our very experienced elder care services can help guide and direct you in the best direction for your family needs.