How to Talk to Parents About Long-Term Care

Life throws us many curveballs, and suddenly becoming the ‘parent’ to your parents is a major one – for both parties involved. When you believe a family member or other loved one is in need of senior care, what is the best way to begin a dialogue? Several factors often compound this sudden reversal of roles: the feeling of meddling in our parents lives the reluctance to accept that our parents are in fact aging anxiety or guilt about who will care for them and the potential for your heartfelt intentions coming off as insulting.

The first step in getting necessary care is to get past the reluctance to talk about it. Gilbert Guide has assembled some suggestions to help make this process as painless as possible: Listen, listen, listen. Show your genuine interest, concern and sensitivity. Be supportive, not judgmental. Ask your loved one open-ended questions to find out his/her personal circumstances and opinions. Share thoughts on your own aging and what you plan to do. Reassure your loved one that they are not alone in their concerns. Be prepared to accept your parents’ opinions or decisions, even if you do not agree.

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