As adult children, we want to care for our parents the same way they did for us. Not only does this mean devoting our time and attention to them, but it also means preparing them for some difficult topics that may be around the corner.
Some of the most important insights about aging can only be learned through conversation. This includes how and where your parent or loved one wants to age, the contents of their wills and trusts, their health care preferences and more.
Despite how important this information may be, these are also some of the toughest topics to talk about. Consider these tips to make difficult conversations with parents and loved ones a little easier:
- Be honest. Honesty is the first key to a productive conversation. Explain that you want to be let into their lives for their benefit, as well as to ease some stress for yourself. This can help aging loved ones realize that they’re not the only ones dealing with the aging process.
- Be clear. Explain exactly what information you need to know as well as what you want to know. The intricacies of a will or trust are complex, and it’s best that you get your loved one to let you in on the specifics. Don’t let anything you think may be important go unaddressed.
- Show empathy. Expressing that you’re on your parent’s side and understand their position creates a more comfortable dynamic. Don’t put your loved one on the defensive. Instead, allow them to express their concerns. For example, if they are hesitant to try certain medications or treatment plans, work together to find a compromise. It should never be “my way or the highway.”
- Be sensitive. Aging is a difficult process, so acknowledge that this process can take a toll on your loved one emotionally. You don’t need to cut straight to the most difficult topics; work your way toward them and be attuned to what comments may upset them.
Communication techniques aside, keep in mind that your aging loved one may still be reluctant to discuss difficult topics. It’s not because they don’t trust you; rather, they may feel like they don’t want to burden you or feel that their independence is at risk. With compassion and reassurance, you can emphasize the importance of communication.
When you need to find care for someone you love, it’s important that it feels right. With SYNERGY HomeCare, you’ll find the best tools and resources, specialized training and caregiver compassion, all in one place.