How to Handle Important Conversations with Loved Ones
As seniors get older, it might be time to start having tough conversations with them about their care and housing. It’s never easy to do and you could feel it’s insensitive to even address these topics, but they’re necessary conversations to have in order to ensure your loved one is living in a dignified and safe manner.
“One reason these conversations are so difficult to have is because the adult children don’t want to hurt their loved one’s feelings,” says Jennifer Duran, Sales Counselor at Crane’s View Lodge in Clermont, Florida. “When discussions about having a professional caregiver, living in a senior community or no longer driving, their concerns can be accompanied with guilt because of how these could change their loved one’s life.”
When broaching these topics, there are certain tools you can use to help make the conversation go as smoothly as possible, while still making sure the message remains clear.
Tools for Tough Conversations:
- Research the topic beforehand so you are well-versed with the subject and have specific examples to show to your loved one. If they need help getting around and can’t drive themselves, look up senior shuttle services or a caregiver who can take them on errands. Your loved ones will see the effort you’re putting in to help them.
- Gradual Steps. You don’t want to start this conversation out of nowhere. Your loved one could feel blindsided by it and as a result completely shut down. Taking baby steps, like checking in after a parent’s doctor appointment could potentially show the direction of a more serious conversation. Pay attention to how much information they give you and see if they’re openly sharing or are more reserved.
- Begin the Conversation. Keep a positive tone and remember that this conversation is coming from a place of love and concern. Don’t jump right into the topic, when you’re both comfortable, find a way to shift into the serious conversation. Whether or not to approach the subject directly or in a subtle way is up to you, choose which one you think will elicit a better response from your loved one. Even mentioning a friend’s parent moving into a senior community could be a starting point.
- Active Listening. This conversation can’t be a one-sided monologue on your part. Listen to what your loved one is saying and look for how this is affecting him or her emotionally. Taking in the responses will give you a cue on how to move forward in the conversation.
- Check In. After the talk is over, allow some time to pass so that what was said can sink in on both sides. Don’t bother your loved one by bringing it up over and over again, but be prepared to talk about it again. If your loved one addresses the subject again first, be attentive and ready to communicate. If they brought up any questions in the first talk, take this downtime to do additional research for them.
Signs That It’s Time to Have the Conversation:
It’s not always obvious when it’s time to start these talks. You might feel like you’re overreacting or making quick judgments. Keep an eye out for signs that show it’s time for more help around the house, if they no longer have the inability to drive and if they need Long-term care, it could mean it’s time to have these tough conversations. A few signs include:
- Difficulty keeping up with the housework. If a senior is falling behind in laundry, dishes or weekly cleaning like dusting or vacuuming, you might want to consider hiring a caregiver to come during the day and help get these tasks done.
- Not taking the proper medication. When seniors have to take medication, they might get confused about what to take or how to open the bottle. A daily caregiver would help give your loved one the correct amount of medication and your family can be assured that they won’t accidentally take the wrong pill or wrong dose.
- Getting confused while driving. This could lead to the difficult conversation called of driving, where you have to address that it’s no longer safe for your loved one to drive.
- Can’t physically turn to check blind spots. Seniors might have trouble with mobility while operating a vehicle, which is another point that could lead to the discussion of driving.
- Forgetting to turn off appliances, such as a stove or oven. When seniors have serious incidents such as these, it directly affects their safety at home. This might be the time to have the discussion about moving into a senior community for long-term care.
Once these signs have been identified, it’s time to find a solution. This all starts with that first difficult conversation. While it might be hard at first, in the long run your loved one will benefit from the talk because you have their best interests at heart.
Here at Crane’s View Lodge, we make sure our residents have the highest quality of life by providing the best care and activities to ensure health and happiness. Our skilled team and delightful amenities give our residents every opportunity to lead enriching lives.
Come Flourish at Crane’s View Lodge!
Located in the rolling hills of central Florida, Crane’s View Lodge offers Assisted Living and Memory Care services within the rustic warmth of a wilderness lodge in the picturesque town of Clermont. We provide an environment of socialization and volunteerism, as well as dependable health care services that promote independence, self-direction, social connections and daily purpose.
The Lodge lifestyle is a unique approach to senior living. While aging does come with challenges, our culture of connections creates an environment for residents to find daily purpose and joy. Here, residents don’t lose their independence. Instead, they receive countless avenues for which to connect with others through social activities or volunteer opportunities. We believe that everyone has something to contribute to their community, and we consider it our mission to help residents find what they can give – their skills, talents, company and enthusiasm.
Residents in our Assisted Living community and Memory Care program experience personalized, comprehensive healthcare services from dedicated, experienced professionals and staff. Each resident works with us to create their own Personal Care Plan, designed specifically for them to enjoy optimal independence while receiving the quality care they require.
We invite you to learn more about the fulfilling lifestyle and serves available at Crane’s View Lodge. Contact us today!