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How to Manage Difficult Conversations with an Older Parent

By Debbie Nunn, 9:00 am on

The aging process can include difficult transitions for older adults, leading to meaningful conversations with family caregivers and medical providers. Some of the discussions could include home care, an unwelcome diagnosis, downsizing, and driving privileges. As a family caregiver, you can use the following tips to handle difficult conversations with a senior parent.

Remain Respectful

Avoid talking to your loved one in a condescending tone. Doing so could cause him or her to become agitated and angry instead of focusing on the details of the conversation. While your loved one is speaking, refrain from interrupting, and give him or her your undivided attention. You need to be honest at all times and talk to your loved one like the intelligent adult he or she is. Remaining respectful can make it easier to handle the difficult conversations you have.

Keep an Open Mind

The discussions with your parent will likely involve medical care. Therefore, you need to allow your loved one to voice his or her opinion and make suggestions. Keep an open mind when your loved one shares an idea, even if you don’t agree. Including him or her in the process may make difficult conversations easier to handle. You also need to take your loved one’s concerns seriously and respond with real answers, as opposed to “yes,” “no,” and other one-word replies. 

One great way to introduce your parent to the idea of getting help at home is to hire a caregiver for a few hours a day or a few days a week. For families living in Clarksville, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.

Enlist the Help of Others

Interventions are helpful for family caregivers, especially if their loved ones are having a difficult time accepting cognitive decline and the aging process as a whole. However, enlisting the help of others can make an awkward conversation easier for seniors to receive. They can hear the details from people they feel aren’t biased about the situation. When having these intervention-style discussions, get help from your siblings, close friends and family members, and your loved one’s medical providers. A nurse or primary care physician can help with discussing diagnoses, treatment plans, medication management, dietary changes, and other tips or benefits about the topic of discussion. 

Your parent may be reassured about receiving help if he or she speaks personally with staff from a trustworthy home care provider. The type of elderly home care Clarksville, TN, seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Home Care Assistance, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time.

Start the Conversation Early

Don’t put off difficult conversations until the last minute. Give your parent time to think things over and come to terms with the news. For instance, if it’s time to take your loved one’s driving privileges away because his or her vision is going bad, don’t just suddenly confiscate his or her car keys. Instead, discuss the situation ahead of time so when you need to take the keys away, it won’t be a complete shock. You should also go over transportation options ahead of time and discuss the benefits of using senior-friendly options like Uber and Lyft. Throughout the conversation, reassure your loved one that he or she is your priority and that you’ll be there for him or her during difficult times. Being proactive can alleviate some of the pain and confusion seniors experience during a crisis or when receiving bad news.

Remind your loved one that he or she isn’t alone. Many older adults are choosing to age in place, and some need a helping hand to continue living at home safely and comfortably. Luckily, there is professional senior care Clarksville seniors can trust and rely on. To learn about our high-quality in-home care services, give Home Care Assistance a call at (931) 218-2781 today.

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