Having the Conversation

If you are concerned about the future of your aging loved one, you may want to talk to them about their options.  Here are a few suggestions about how to handle the sensitive subject.

First of all, it is helpful to make it an ongoing dialogue with several smaller conversations that discuss issues one at a time.  Trying to figure out everything in one day is too overwhelming.

Secondly, remember to be a partner and a facilitator.  Your role should not be to tell them what they need, but to listen and come to understand your loved one’s feelings, wishes, and needs.  Then you can help the needs and wishes be fulfilled.

Another important sentiment is that this conversation may be hard to bring up, but it is best to ask your loved one how they wish to live out the rest of their lives sooner rather than later.  It will be easier to address the topic while they are in good health than in the midst of a health crisis.

Overall, your goal should be to respectfully engage your loved one in making a plan they desire.  Choose a comfortable time and place to bring up the subject and then listen!