How to Talk to Your Parents About the Future
It is widely acknowledged that one of the most difficult decisions a child has to make in life is moving their parents to a senior care community. In return, it is one of the greatest challenges for parents to accept that they cannot live alone anymore and to realize that moving to a senior care community, regardless of the level of care it provides, is in everybody’s best interest.
In most families, many years pass during which the topic of senior care is never touched on, even if both sides have noticed it should be addressed. Whereas children on the one hand avoid confronting their parents for fear of a harsh response, parents, on the other hand, are too afraid of admitting they have grown old and of losing their independence. And so seniors continue to live by themselves despite the fact that it may not be safe for them and that they may struggle with daily tasks.
Talk About the Future
In order to avoid this problem, talking about the future regardless of parents’ age can facilitate the process. Bringing up the topic as soon as possible and addressing it regularly will help due to the fact that words like “nursing home” or “assisted living” will lose their sting in forthcoming conversations. Therefore, both sides are better prepared once the situation becomes urgent and taking action becomes a necessity. Parents will be more willing to accept having others take care of them.
Generally speaking, parents do not want to burden their children. They are also known to hide their problems in order to avoid scaring them. So what is an effective strategy when it comes to approaching your parents?
Addressing the future indirectly by sharing your genuine concerns about having your parents live alone is a first step that can help. Experts agree that most parents are willing to respond to this honest communication method rather than having them told what they will or will not do. In addition, experts agree that most children make the future their parents’ problem when in fact it should be theirs. So while your parents took care of you when you were younger, it is your turn now to take care of your parents.
Dealing with Resistance
Psychologists state there is no secret strategy or trick to be used for persuading a resistant parent. Sometimes, backing off and raising the topic after some time has passed can help. An attempt to convince them and reduce tension, however, appears to be having them visit an assisted living facility with you.
Placing stress on your loved one will only lead to resistance, tension or anger in most cases. If parents are encouraged to visit a senior living community, they are more likely to change their lifestyle though as they will feel that they have done this on their own accord. They will have enough time to think through moving to another location or receiving in-home care and will have the chance to see in person that “things are not so bad in those places”.
Unfortunately, experts agree that things may have to get worse for some seniors before they improve again. Having said that, it is not uncommon that parents fall and injure themselves or, for example, face severe consequences from having forgotten to pay bills before they start thinking reasonably about the future.
Creating a care-giving team needs trust, cooperation and support.
Working as a team can represent another method to persuade resisting parents. You should not be the only person talking to your parents. Instead, ask family members of all ages to communicate their concerns. Also, healthcare providers such as your parents’ trusted doctor might be a helpful source if they talk to your loved ones.
You are not the only one responsible for taking care of your parents. In fact, care-giving is a family responsibility and therefore should include all siblings and immediate family members.
Creating a care-giving team needs trust, cooperation and support. These are essential for the family approach that experts recommend for handling the loved ones’ situation. And even though critical decisions need a family consensus, experts agree only one person should be the primary advocate with the ability to make final decisions for the loved one.
Discussing possible goals or plans before talking to your loved ones will ensure everybody has the same understanding of what type of care your parents should receive. It will guarantee they are confronted with homogenous intentions and are not promised things that you do not agree with or are not in their best interest.
Justifying Moving Your Loved Ones
You may have promised your parents a long time ago that you will never put them into a senior care community. Yet today, you are planning on doing so or you have already successfully moved them. And perhaps, you now feel guilty or like you are betraying your parents.
Keep in mind, however, that your decision is based on what is best for your loved ones and that you ensuring their quality of life is maintained.
The truth is that moving parents to a senior care community is probably one of the most loving and caring acts that children or family members can do. If the community is chosen carefully by having in mind what is best for the loved ones and what they will like, it is a way to thank them. It shows how important they are to you. It shows how much you love them.