Difficult Conversations to Have With Elderly Loved Ones and How to Have Them
It’s not easy watching the seniors in your life get older. The parents and grandparents who took care of you through thick and thin are aging, and with each passing year, they need more assistance to get by. This role reversal can be tough to handle for independent-minded older adults, and that sets the stage for challenging, but necessary, conversations. Here’s how to approach them.
Needing Extra Help
Today’s elderly grew up in a time when self-sufficiency was expected. No older adult wants to feel less than fully capable. In most cases, the senior you’re concerned about has already noticed they need a helping hand, but they’re reluctant to ask. Chances are, they’ll feel relieved when you raise the subject. The best way to bring it up, however, is not by pointing out what isn’t getting done around the house. Instead, discuss how accepting aid can enhance their life by giving them more time to do what they enjoy. Suggest simple steps such as arranging for grocery delivery or lawn care. When they see the benefits of getting help, they often become receptive to accepting more.
It’s Time to Stop Driving
Losing the privilege to drive is a common concern among seniors. It means they can’t come and go as they please. They are becoming reliant on others and that isn’t easy for them. It can be scary when driving capacity becomes compromised due to aging, despite taking additional safety precautions. But when there have been too many near misses, it’s time to consider an alternative. Emphasizing the positives is the best way to approach this conversation. Point out the financial and time-saving benefits of not owning a car and have a transportation plan ready to present. Answering as many what-ifs as possible takes some of the stress out of giving up the keys.
All seniors eventually have to make end-of-life decisions, so filling out an advance directive or living will forms that describe preferences for care is vital. Without an advance directive, there’s no guarantee your loved one’s final wishes will be respected. Make the discussion easier by focusing exclusively on your special senior’s needs versus your ease as a caregiver.
Aging brings changes that require delicate conversations. By keeping the lines of communication on tough topics open, you can help your special seniors remain independent longer. It’s a win-win for everyone.
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