If you’re sensing that your loved one might be feeling overwhelmed with their daily routine, or that they’re feeling lonely following a
loss of companionship, it might be time for
a conversation about added care. While we know that this type of conversation may be intimidating, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. We’re here to support you.
Read ahead to go through a step-by-step process filled with helpful tips and conversations starters. Then, turn to the back page for rehearsing the actual conversation. After careful preparation, you’ll be ready to initiate ‘The Talk’.
At Hauser’s Support Services, our goal is making sure your parent or loved one is always safe and cared for. Together, we can help your loved one live their most active and independent life.
Preparing for The Talk
1. Gather all the Details
Record the issues you see occurring. Are there tasks not being done? Are you noticing unpaid bills, spoiled food, hygiene issues, or increased anxiety?
What does your gut tell you? You might not know exactly what is wrong, but you may sense that help is needed.
Attend a doctor appointment with your loved one to learn more about their condition.
Attend a pharmacy visit with your loved one and ask their pharmacist about their prescriptions.
2. How Concerned Are You?
Giving thought to everything you’ve recorded – both your observations and gut feelings – what level of concern do you have for your loved one’s safety?
If any of these statements are true, your loved one might need support: My loved one has recently...
experienced a fall
stopped using household appliances safely
experienced memory issues
stopped being able to keep up their hygiene on their own
moved into a retirement home and is having trouble adjusting
3. Calling All Siblings
Even if your siblings live a distance away or aren’t as involved in your life or your loved one’s life, it’s important to include them from the beginning.
By opening the lines of communication early, you have a better chance of making everyone feel included and keeping the conversation positive.
Have a pre-meeting or pre-call so that you can start by expressing the love and concern you have for your loved one and listen to understand when your sibling speaks. This will help lay the groundwork for a respectful relationship moving forward and allow
4. Communication Styles
Give thought to each family member’s personality type and communication style.
Prepare for the reactions you may receive, and plan for ways to respond:
If you have an argumentative family member, plan a way to diffuse a tense situation. Slow the conversation down and allow a quiet moment to pass until the person has expressed themselves.
If you have an assertive family member, they may over-talk, rather than listen. Remind your sibling that each person wants to be heard and encourage them to listen and respect all perspectives.
A more reserved family member may need your encouragement to share their feelings. Ask them open-ended questions to gain their perspective.
5. Prepare, Plan & Practice
Who will lead the discussion?
Where will you sit? (Arrange seating in a circle with no ‘head of the table’.)
Think of ways to keep the conversation as light and positive as possible, including a fun family story that could be shared to break the ice at the start or bring the group back together towards the end of the conversation.
Plan & Practice your key messages.
6. Understand Fears
You may be most concerned about your loved ones safety, while they may be most concerned about losing their independence.
Assure them that the support you’re offering is what will help them maintain their independence and will allow them to have more time and energy for a fuller life
7. Inclusion Is Key
As much as possible, include your loved one in the plans for discussion so that they don’t feel you’ve gone behind their back.
The idea is to come up with solutions together – and this may take place over several conversations.