It’s common for parents and children to have difficulty discussing sensitive subjects. This communication barrier between generations can continue through adulthood for children of aging parents. We understand and can help promote positive communication.
Here are ten useful tips for handling the most common and uncomfortable topics affecting older adults such as driving, finances, getting more help at home, moving to a retirement community:
- Avoid beginning the conversation with the solution already in mind.
- State your concerns. What are you observing that is worrisome?
- Ask, don’t tell. Instead of telling your parents what they should do, ask for their ideas.
- Be prepared. Do research ahead of time so you can be a resource if questions arise.
- Be supportive. Conversations like this stir up emotions. Assure your parents you will help find a solution.
- Be a good listener. By understanding what is really going on, you will be more helpful in the long run.
- Timing is important. Ideally it’s best to avoid having these conversations during times of high stress like an illness, hospitalization or death.
- Be proactive. Don’t wait for a crisis to occur to address your concerns.
- When appropriate, invite others to be part of the discussion. Consider including experts, other siblings or those who would provide trusted support such as clergy or friends.
- Explore solutions together. By doing so, you reduce some of the fear associated with these changes.