Holidays and breaks afford us crucial time with our loved ones. Our happiest and most intimate memories often come from times like these. However if you have aging parents, time spent close together may also reveal declines in their health. If you find yourself in a similar situation take it as an opportunity to discuss a plan for the care they may need. Having a professional caretaker in place during times of uncertainty will make you and your loved ones feel more secure. It will also ensure that your loved ones will be treated with the professionalism and dignity they deserve, to allow them both the highest quality and quantity of life. We understand that this conversation is a hard one to start. If you have any trouble one of our experienced care managers can help guide you step by step through this period of transition.    

The following script outlines Family Tree’s best tips on having “the conversation” with your loved ones.

Why You Need to Have the Conversation                                                             

  •       It is better to have a plan in place before a crisis occurs
  •       Knowledge of care options gives you choices, rather than having choices made for you
  •       Finances drive choices.
  •       While parents may be reluctant to accept help, no parent wants to be a burden to their child

How Not to Have The Conversation                                             

Here’s an example discussion that will not be effective when having “the conversation”.

Kid: Mom, You and dad are getting older, how long are you going to live in this house? I have observed dad and his arthritis and he has trouble with the stairs.

Mom: Your dad and I do okay in this house. Will you check the things in the oven?

Kid: Mom, the dressing and veggies are fine, but dad does have trouble with the stairs.

Mom: Your dad always over does it when you kids come in for the holidays and it stirs up his arthritis. We are fine.

Kid: Mom, we need to talk about these things.

Mom:  Yes, dear, but now we need to get dinner ready.

What Went Wrong?

o   Poor timing

o  Undefined goal

o   Covered too many topics: Money, Safety, Health

When & Where will you have “The Conversation”                                                      

  •       Who— Someone who is a natural leader when it comes to making decisions. Our suggestion would be the oldest child, a sibling of the elder needing help, the one who is closest to the family, or a 3rd party member.
  •       When— The best time to have the conversation is when you can find enough time to speak and a quiet place to discuss. This conversation should only happen after you’ve fully prepared and have all the information to present.
  •       Where—You want everyone to feel comfortable and relaxed when having the conversation. It’s best to have this discussion a private comfortable setting. Avoid public places.          

A Better Conversation

Here is an example of a more positive “conversation” that will make an impact.                                                                                             

Kid: Mom and Dad, do you have a few minutes to talk? I have some things I want to share with you.

Mom: Sweetie, sure we do. Let’s sit here around the kitchen table.

Kid: Tom and I went to see our attorney a couple of weeks ago and reviewed our will and powers of attorney. I wanted to share with you copies of these records and explain what we did and why.

Mom: Thanks, dear. Now what are these papers and what purpose do they serve?

Kid: Mom and Dad, do you have a will and powers of attorney and advance directives?

Mom: We have an old will we did about 20 years ago and I don’t even know for sure where it is. I think it is in the safety deposit box.

Why did this work?

o   Quiet time

o   Comfortable location

o   Focused on issue not on parents

o   Gentle approach

Family Tree care managers can help guide you through managing care for your loved ones. Our team of experts can help coordinate the unique needs of older adults and those living with disabilities. Call us today to find out more about how we can help your loved ones during the aging process.