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Having the Tough Conversation With Your Aging Parents

Tough Conversations

Last updated: November 13, 2012

Talking with a loved one about their current needs and long-term care isn't easy. A successful conversation depends upon the relationship we have with the individual, as well as their mental, emotional and physical condition.

It's easy to put off serious discussions to avoid conflict or awkward conversations. However, not taking the time to understand your loved one's wishes and establish a mutually agreed upon plan may result in more conflict, heartache and suffering for all involved.

Tips for Having the Talk

  • Share your own feelings - be honest and open.
  • Offer reassurance that you will support them and can be depended upon to act in their best interest.
  • Help your loved one maintain a sense of control by suggesting they make their own decisions - within reason.
  • Respect your own needs in relation to your loved one's expectations of you - be honest about your time and energy limits.

To the extent possible, have an open and honest discussion about their wishes, abilities and options. While the thought of such dialogue may be uncomfortable, you will be in a better position to make decisions later when your loved one may not be able to do so.

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