It can be hard to adjust to the changes in family dynamics as our elderly parents enter into their golden years. For both our parents and ourselves, this can involve a change of roles that might not be voluntary or well-received. Whether they are well-intentioned conversations about our parents’ financial situations, the expectations of caregiving, or even medical discussions, our parents may interpret these conversations as a loss of independence or autonomy. Even if you only have their best interests at heart, it may be difficult for them to lose that decision-making power, or accept the need for greater attention or assistance with their daily lives.
Here at Rittenhouse Village At Muhlenberg, we work with many elderly parents and have picked up on many of their concerns and preferences. Read on to learn about some of the best tips you can use to navigate through difficult conversations with elderly parents.
Build Open Communication Channels
Being able to openly talk about sensitive topics isn’t something that can happen overnight. Even with the most seasoned of professionals working with elderly, talking about difficult conversations requires the building of rapport and trust over time.
Our key tip here is to not wait until crisis has struck to begin talking about difficult issues. In other words, try to be proactive and plan for the future together. This is not only so that your parents have time to fully consider their thoughts and preferences, but also to avoid having to make hasty decisions in times of stress.
Do Not Ambush Your Parents with Difficult Questions
Chances are that your parents are just as unprepared as you are about their plans for senior care. Choose a comfortable environment for the conversation and be patient with them. This can involve a certain degree of planning. For example, ensuring that you have done your due diligence in researching the different senior living options, inviting relevant parties like your siblings or close family members to join the conversation, or even just sitting down together to set realistic goals.
In other words, before you broach any topics with your elderly parents, make sure that you know why you are bringing it up in the first place, and have a clear idea who should be involved in helping your parents make difficult decisions.
Take Time to Listen
This is extremely important. These conversations are generally started out of concern or care but even while you are trying to get them help, it is important to make sure that it is what your parents would want. Consider what they are saying and also look out for their tone and or any hesitations. It can be possible that they are not against getting help, but they are simply afraid, frustrated, or have goals that they would like to achieve first.
As much as they deserve and need the best care possible, it is also important to help your parents achieve as much closure on the activities and programs in their life where possible. Just like us, our parents too have dreams, hobbies, and preferences. Make sure that these are not only not neglected in your conversations, but are also welcomed as key considerations when making decisions.
No matter if you are simply broaching concerns for the future or making immediate decisions for lifestyle changes, it is important to be empathetic to your elderly parents and avoid pressuring them into something that they are not ready for. If you are struggling to come to a conclusion, it might be best to contact a professional. Our team at Rittenhouse Village At Muhlenberg is here to answer any questions about senior living options, our exclusive senior programs, or any general enquiries that you may have! Get in touch with us today.