12 Intros to Start the Tough Aging Care Talk
Aging Matters

Sooner or later every adult son and daughter will cross the passage of family caregiving. It's inevitable, and the initial opening to it is "the talk." It will be about their safety, the driving, their ill-health, where they live, good nutrition, the unkempt home, and whether or not the parent can look after herself. The talk is not easy or comfortable, and it's one of the hardest things you'll do.

SeniorCare.com knows what family members and seniors are up against when planning for future care. Adult children deal with watching loved ones decline and get sick while older adults learn to succumb to letting go of independence. It's terrifying for both. That's why we asked senior care professionals:

What is your number one suggestion for families to begin discussing the types of care needed with an elderly loved one?

1. Come from the perspective that you want to do something to make their lives easier because you want to help. Julie Westcott, Episcopal SeniorLife Communities.

2. Start with the purpose, not the problem, and ask questions rather than stating conclusions. Kai Stinchcombe, True Link Financial.

3. Put yourself in their shoes and begin by talking about how hard it is to lose any form of independence. Rhonda Caudell, Elderly Parent Care Coach.

4. Have a neutral third party whom your elder respects introduce the subject such as clergy, peer or grandchild. Cathleen Grant, Silver Link.

5. Understand that when you have the conversation, the senior will resist change, and you need patience throughout the process. Daniel Parker, Right at Home.

6. Approach gently. Ask questions. And LISTEN! Kathryn Watson, Find Houston Senior Care.Stop waiting to look for solutions until your family is on the verge of a crisis or worse yet, in one. Lori La Bey, Alzheimer's Speaks.

7. Whatever it takes; be honest about everything! Mike Padawer, INERTIA Long Term Care Financial Planning.

8. Ask them what they need don't tell them what you want. Elizabeth Taylor, Taylor Organizing.

9. Remember that a change in ability or personal independence likely impacts more than the individual senior, it often affects and changes an entire family. Thomas West, Financial Advisor.

10. Try NOT doing it during a holiday visit. Alex Chamberlain, Easy Living Home Healthcare.

11. Help the elder to understand that the assistance is to help keep them be independentand not to take anything away from them. Laurie Miller, Apple Care Companion.

12. Make it a conversation, not a lecture, and be certain to do more listening than talking. Find out what the individual thinks about his/her level of needing assistance before pushing your opinion. Don't assume they will resist. Michelle Seitzer, ElderCare Specialist.

Carol Marak, Aging Advocate, and Editor of SeniorCare.com. She is the creator of the Aging Matters weekly column: Her background is family caregiving. She earned a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Gerontology from the University of Southern California, Davis.

Part of the Aging Matters Weekly Syndicated Column

Aging Matters is a weekly column tackling everyday challenges that our growing elderly population and their loved ones face. It is also published in a variety of syndication partners including newspapers all over the country.

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