Memory loss, letting the house go, and forgetting to take medications may seem mild to you as the child of an aging parent. But, sometimes these are bigger signs for a difficult future. The crucial thing to remember is to have “The Conversation” with your parent before an emergency occurs. You may be muttering under your breath and dreading the talk—it’s not an easy conversation to have. Here are some tips when preparing for talking to your parents over the upcoming holidays.
Why the holidays? Well, families are together over the holidays feeling warm and friendly. You may also have the chance to discuss any red flags with other present family members, which they may see firsthand.
It will take more than one conversation.
Don’t be surprised if nothing moves forward after the initial conversation. It’s important to understand that these types of talks require more than one conversation, as they signify huge life changes for everyone involved, and that can be hard to grasp with just one exchange.
Create a collaborative-style conversation.
According to David Solie, author of “How to Say it to Seniors: Closing the Communication Gap with Our Elders,” the goal of conversation is to create a “pleasurable, productive, and effective” discussion.
Start the conversation.
Golden (www.joingolden.com) has outlined this perfect conversation starter between you and your loved one. You can change these words to whatever makes you most comfortable:
(Mom/Dad/Name), I worry about you – I want to be sure that you’ll have enough money to live life the way you want to. It would really put my mind at ease if I could look at your income, savings and expenses. Do you think we could spend some time gathering that while I’m visiting over the holiday?
The more family, the better.
You may want to call on the help of other family members for support during this time. A great way to start is by calling your health advocate and having a group discussion to go over the options of what happens next.
Severino Health Advisors will help you through this challenging process. The more support you have, the easier it will be.