The US Census Bureau estimates that 53 million Americans were 65 years of age or older in 2019. By 2030, one in five Americans will be of retirement age in the United States due to the high number of individuals turning 65. If you have an elderly parent, grandparent, or other loved one, it is likely that they will require senior care in the future. It is important to start conversations about their preferences and available options now. Although having these discussions might be challenging, doing so is vital to make your family and yourself feel secure in the future.
It is not unusual for a person to be averse to addressing senior care. Grief is frequently a part of losing one’s independence as well as the aging process in general. Some elderly persons, particularly those who experience difficulty completing activities of daily life, also feel as though they have lost their sense of purpose.
You can use this guidance to help you better handle the situation when it is time to discuss senior care with your parents.
Do Some Research
Avoid entering one of these discussions unprepared. To get the facts you need for a fruitful debate, consult medical experts or do some web research. In terms of easy methods to start a conversation, consider emailing them an article about senior care as a conversation starter. Mention that you just read an article regarding senior care and start the dialogue there. Say that you have been considering it, and you want to honor their preferences by being sure you understand what is important to them.
If you are impatient and frustrated, it gets challenging to have an effective conversation. Keep in mind that age-related physical and mental changes can lead to problems like disorientation, forgetfulness, and other issues that make it challenging for older adults to communicate their needs in detail.
Think about how you would feel if you were your parent. If you were beginning to lose your independence or were dealing with health issues, you would probably find it difficult. You must keep your patience during difficult conversations by demonstrating empathy. If you start to get upset, take a break and try to have the conversation when you are feeling more composed.
Let the Elderly Take the Lead
Even if you want to do what is best for your parents, you should not try to take charge and make all the decisions by yourself. Maintaining their freedom and increasing the likelihood that they will be willing to discussing issues like long-term care and estate planning are both achieved by involving them in every significant decision.
Emphasize That You Put Their Well-Being First
Let your parents know that you care about their wellbeing, not just how your life will be made easier, when you are prepared to have a difficult conversation. Saying, “Mom, Dad, I love you,” is another way to show them that you care. Continue with “As long as possible, I want you to be here. In the present, as we age, and in the later stages of life, I want to understand what is essential to you. I want to be sure that I can respect your wishes and express them if I ever need to.”