Aging comes with additional responsibilities, challenges, and accommodations that often require long-term planning and discussion. Even though this is an inevitability for all of us, almost 50% of adult children say they didn’t do enough to take care of their aging parents for their “Golden Years.”
That’s why the professional caregivers with SYNERGY HomeCare have devised a list that can help you approach this process with your own family, as well as what topics to discuss when starting the conversation about long-term planning.
How To Have the Conversation
Emotional intelligence is key when navigating difficult conversations with just about anyone. Here are some tips.
- Pick the right time and place:
Don’t spring the conversation on a loved one at a public event or crowded place. Wait until you’re in a safe space without outside distractions.
- Be empathetic:
This isn’t “their” problem, it’s “our” problem. Be considerate and express that you’re on their side no matter what challenges lie ahead.
- Listen and respect their autonomy:
Don’t hear what you want to hear. Properly address your loved ones’ concerns and involve them in future decisions. This is their process and their well-being, so your loved one should provide input.
- Avoid information overload:
Evaluate what needs to be discussed at the moment and gauge what your loved one is ready to hear. You don’t need to dump every detail about every potential problem during your very first conversation.
- Be prepared:
Know your stuff before you bring up the conversation. The last thing your loved one wants to hear is a bunch of “I don’t know’s,” when they ask questions. Try to minimize uncertainty.
What Should You Discuss and Achieve During the Conversation
You want your conversation to yield real results and put you and your family on a path toward a more fulfilling aging process. Be sure to hit on topics such as:
- Legal matters:
Long-term planning can involve difficult processes such as discussing the power of attorney, living wills and specific healthcare plans and policies. You do NOT want to wait for these conversations until they’re absolutely necessary.
- Financial considerations:
Money is always a touchy subject but it’s something that needs to be addressed. You should obtain your loved one’s consent to co-sign financial documents, pension plans or bank accounts. You should also gain access to their regular bills and utilities to make sure everything is being handled as needed.
- Medical specifics:
Find out what doctors or pharmacists your loved one is comfortable with and make sure they’re seeing the specialists they need. Also be sure to track their medications and be added to their HIPAA form so you have access to all of their necessary medical information.
If you’re able to keep these emotional considerations in mind when discussing the topics about taking care of aging parents , you’ll already be far ahead of the 80% of adult children who avoid these conversations until a problem arises.
For more information on the specifics of the aging process and what tools or services can benefit you, visit SYNERGY HomeCare’s website or call 877-432-2692.
For more information on caring for a loved one with dementia, download SYNERGY HomeCare’s free Memory Care Guide.