Talking about issues facing your senior now and later, as she nears the end of her life, is not an easy task. It’s difficult for your elderly family member, too. Try some of these ideas to try to make the conversation go more smoothly and to relieve some of the pressure from both of you.
Don’t Make This a Big, Scary Deal
How you broach this topic matters a lot. If you approach it as if you’re scared of the topic and this is some massive, scary conversation, your senior is going to see it that way, too. Neither of you is going to get very far if you’re terrified of the topic. So keep it calm and remember that this is just you and your senior working out what she wants for the future.
Keep the Tone in Mind
The tone you use for this conversation matters a lot. If you’re approaching it with a dire, dark mood, that’s going to color everything the same way. Yes, these are serious matters, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t keep the tone a little lighter. When things feel too heavy, take a break.
Restrict Who You Involve at First
Sometimes these conversations are a lot easier with a smaller audience. Your senior might feel put on the spot if you include everyone in the family. This is also about respecting her privacy and protecting her dignity. Sticking to this guideline can help you and your elderly family member to build trust and might even make the conversation easier.
Keep Your Expectations in Check
Lots of times caregivers go into this conversation expecting that they’ll be able to check every box and solve every situation. But it doesn’t always go that way and you can’t force it to do so. Instead, take a quick inventory of your own expectations. You need to make sure that they’re within reasonable boundaries and that you’re prepared to have two or three more conversations that cover the rest of what you need to know. You might even need more than that, as well.
Approaching this topic the right way can help you and your elderly family member agree on lots of different decisions, like when it’s time to bring in hospice elder care providers. Your elderly family member can feel as if she’s still involved in the decision-making process because she is. And you’ll have the information that you need to make sure you’re meeting her needs and her wishes.