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Tips for Handling Difficult Conversations with an Aging Parent

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As your senior parent ages, you can expect difficult conversation topics to arise. At some point, you may need to talk to your parent about age-related issues that cause him or her to need assistance at home. You may also need to discuss difficult news, such as a new health diagnosis or a lost loved one. While none of these topics are ever easy to bring up, you can use these tips to handle difficult talks with your parent in the best way possible.

Pick the Right Time to Talk

Timing is everything when it comes to covering a difficult topic. For instance, your parent may naturally get defensive if you bring up a health issue while he or she is around a lot of other people. Therefore, a big family event may not be the best time to mention your parent’s hearing loss. Instead, pick a time to talk when you can speak privately or with just the people who need to be involved in the conversation. You may also choose to talk during a time of day when your loved one is more receptive, such as in the morning after breakfast.

Consider Possible Reactions

It’s always best to know how to respond to potential reactions to difficult topics. While you cannot always predict what your parent might say, you can consider possible responses. For instance, you may anticipate that your loved one will say he or she is fine and doesn’t need help at home. Knowing your parent might say this allows you to prepare a statement that lets him or her know you’re simply asking him or her to consider the option.

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 Cleveland, 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.

Stick to the Facts

Difficult conversations can easily degenerate into arguments if you’re not careful. Try to avoid making exaggerated statements or falling into the trap of letting your parent lead the conversation away from the intended topic. For instance, he or she may try to blow off your worries and move on to talk about something else. If this happens, gently return the conversation back to the topic. You may also need to use data from a recent health test or an informative news article to bolster your argument if you’re trying to get your loved one help.

Remind your loved one that he or she is not 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 Cleveland seniors can trust and rely on.

Practice Empathy and Compassion

When you speak to your loved one, try to remember that upsetting news is never fun to receive. Your loved one may be embarrassed to hear you speaking from the perspective of a caregiver. Alternatively, your parent may be devastated to receive a serious new health diagnosis or hear that a friend has passed away. Respond with compassion to your loved one’s reaction, and remind him or her that you’re always there for support.

Follow Up on the Conversation Later

Many difficult conversations aren’t resolved during the first talk. If your loved one needs time to think things over, offer to return to the topic later. You may both also need time to cool off if the conversation gets heated. Just make sure to actually follow up and develop a plan of action during your next talk that ensures your loved one stays well.

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 elder care Cleveland, OH, 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. If you need professional home care for your loved one, our Care Managers are just a phone call away. Reach out to Home Care Assistance today at (440) 332-0170.

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