What to Discuss

elderly woman and her daughter having a conversation

You’ve noticed signs that your parent or other family member needs assistance at home, but the thought of discussing it with them is upsetting and distressing. When is the best time to talk about home care assistance? How do you talk about it without hurting them? Is it even possible to have a positive discussion about it?

While it can be difficult to talk to loved ones about home care, putting off the conversation could mean risking an emergency situation such as an accident or illness. It’s important to have the discussion before an incident occurs. Start the conversation with your loved one in a casual way, opening them up to sharing their needs and their desires regarding home care and their future.

Here are some tips for talking with loved ones to make these conversations easier:

1. Start talking with your loved one now. You will have more time, more options and a better chance of helping them to stay at home if you address issues before they become serious problems.

2. Ask questions and listen. Share what you have observed and ask questions about what they think is causing problems and what they suggest for solutions.

3. Talk as you would to any other adult. Do not patronize or speak to them like they’re children. Approach them as equals, with respect and consideration, and you will get a much better response. You need your parents to work with you to find solutions.

4. Emphasize your desire to help your loved one stay independent. What older adults fear most is losing their independence. If they know you want to help them maintain their independence, they will be more likely to participate in finding a solution.

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