With age comes risks and, unfortunately, surprises that can alter a senior’s life in seconds. From falls to medical issues, loved ones need to be updated with seniors regarding their wishes for the future. This includes understanding what they need in the home to continue living independently. Having senior home care professionals working with loved ones ensures they are safe and supported when loved ones can’t be there.
Tips to Make the Hard Conversations Easier
Addressing legal and financial concerns, long-term care options, and end-of-life desires can be painful, but denial, delay, and lack of communication have significant implications. It’s best to start the conversations early and be mindful of any changes before issues arise.
Consider the following tips when approaching hard topics with loved ones.
Watch for conversation starters: Maybe it’s a book or an article from the paper. Starting a conversation from a third-party source is sometimes easier than a more direct approach.
Pull in personal stories: In line with the first tip, seniors might mention something that happened to a friend, or perhaps it was a co-worker of a loved one. Having an open conversation about something that happened close to the heart can be the jumpstart needed to tackle a hard topic.
Be genuine and sincere: Ask open-ended questions that allow seniors to reminisce. It might seem better to rush through a hard conversation to get to something happier, but it can make seniors feel like they’re simply another check box on the to-do list.
Listen with intent: The same can be said for listening. When talking with seniors, do it one on one without any other distractions. This means putting the phones away and truly listening to their wishes. For loved ones, it can be hard with opinions and wishes don’t align with theirs. Remembering the purpose of the conversation helps.
Encourage seniors to be proactive: Talk with loved ones about making preparations and documenting wishes, especially legal ones. These conversations should be respectful and not leading. Emotions often get heightened when dealing with family issues, which is why this tip is significant. Talk with loved ones about finding an appropriate attorney – preferably one that deals with elder law, if they don’t have someone designated to assist them.
Create an outline: In emotional situations, it can be difficult to stay on task. It might be best to write down topics that need to be discussed to ensure proper conversation management. This should be done with grace and care, so there is an open flow of communication and respect. If it starts to feel like an appointment or like a box checked on a to-do list, as mentioned above, seniors will shut down and feel as if they’re a bother.
How Can Senior Home Care Help?
There are times when conversations falter, even using the tips above. With senior home care in place, loved ones feel better knowing there is an extra person on the team that can provide helpful insight. As part of the support team, senior home care specialists might have alternatives for seniors that loved ones might not have considered. Senior home care providers also have unique opportunities to see what seniors might need on a daily basis. Working with senior home care in the home is a wonderful way to add support and increase seniors’ success while aging at home.