eeding assisted living or nursing home care, Massachusetts Long-term care facilities

Is it Time for the “Talk” with your elder or loved one?

Talk with your elder or loved one…about assisted living…

Is it Time for the “Talk” with your elder loved one? Denial of needing assisted living or nursing home care is common when dealing with a parent or senior relative who doesn’t want to have to leave his or her home.

Here are some tips for having a successful conversation about this important issue:

  • Decide whether it is best to have the talk at home or in a public place. Bring a special treat and begin the discussion over tea or coffee. A public place may be the better location if you feel the talk will escalate to an argument or your loved one will “escape” to a bedroom to avoid the discussion.
  • Be sure to start by telling your loved one just how much he or she is
  • Be factual and share your concerns. Say, for example:
  • I come every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday to be sure you are OK.
  • I can’t help but notice you are losing weight.
  • You have missed taking your medicine four times this month.
  • You have fallen twice in recent weeks.
  • Be sure to elaborate on your fears for your loved one. For example:
  • When I can’t get here to check on you, I worry all day that you might forget your medicine or that you haven’t eaten.
  • I get so stressed out when I phone and you don’t answer the phone or it takes you long to pick up. I think you have fallen again.
  • I worry that if something happens to me, you won’t have anyone to look after you.

This is an emotional issue; don’t be afraid to show emotion.

  • Acknowledge your loved one’s concerns and desires:
  • I know you don’t want to leave the home you’ve lived in for so long.
  • I know it is scary to be making such a big change.
  • I know you are concerned about what to do with your belongings and treasures.

Follow up with a statement to reassure your loved one that this is a process you will work on together and that you will both be able to tour facilities to select the one that is right. Knowing that you will include your loved one in the decision-making will go a long way towards a successful discussion.

It will be necessary to talk the “Talk” more than once, but the first time is the most difficult. Be sure to show concern and understanding as your discussion progresses to a conclusion helps to make the transition a smooth one.

Resource: Your Senior Housing Options by Diane Twohy Masson


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