5 Tips for Talking to your Loved One about Senior Care
Senior care can be a fraught issue. For many elderly adults, they may have been dreading senior health care, feared discussing it, or are reluctant to give up what they see as their independence.
For concerned loved ones, it can be equally difficult to discuss senior care options with their loved ones. They may have similar attitudes towards senior health care, or feel torn between their loved one’s wishes and what they consider to be the truth.
To help open these conversations more easily, here are a few ways to start discussing senior health care.
1) Let them know your concerns
The conversation can begin with why you’re concerned about your loved one. Common concerns include “I’m worried about your health,” “I’m worried you’re having trouble getting around,” and “I’m worried that you don’t seem to be enjoying life.” You should avoid blanket statements like “I’m worried you can’t take care of yourself” in favor of specific concerns. That way, your loved one is less likely to feel overwhelmed.
2) Ask how they feel about the situation
Your elderly loved one may have strong opinions or a different perspective on the situation. By asking how they feel, you are acknowledging that their feelings are valuable and will be taken into consideration. You might also find that they express similar viewpoints to your own, and might express whether they are lonely or whether they are struggling.
3) Show empathy, not sympathy
Most elderly loved ones don’t want you to pity them. Instead, show empathy by responding to their concerns with “I understand where you are coming from” and “That sounds difficult.” Sympathetic or pitying statements, like “I hate to see you like this,” will likely only cause more resistance and pushback.
4) Arm yourself with knowledge
By knowing that there is more than one option for senior healthcare, you can explore various options with your loved one. In fact, depending on your loved one’s abilities, your finances, and more, it’s possible that there is a solution perfect for them. If you’re struggling to find out more information on your options, reach out to a local senior care organization.
5) Try to remain objective
People have strong feelings about the end of life, or by seeing someone they admire struggle with everyday tasks. It’s important to acknowledge that your feelings are valid, but also to understand that by doing what’s best for your loved one, you may have to help them make difficult decisions.