How to Discuss Assisted Living Without Ruining the Holidays

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The winter holidays are a joyous time to celebrate with family and friends. However, lately, you haven’t really felt like celebrating when you visit your parents. Their home is looking decidedly dingy. Your parents don’t seem to get out as much. Your mom always seems to have big bruises on her arms and legs, and she can never explain where she got them.

You’ve tried to talk to them before, but they’ve always brushed you off.

But the holidays are time to enjoy and celebrate, not to dwell on your concerns about your senior parents’ safety.

Really?

Holidays are among the best times to discuss your concerns and your parents’ plans.

  • More time
  • Less pressure from other factors, such as work
  • Face-to-face opportunity
  • Uplifting ambience

How to Discuss Your Parents’ Future without Ruining The Holidays

Follow these 10 guidelines when talking to your parents about their future plans:

1. Do not start by criticizing.

Don’t mention the house or the bruises or anything else you’ve noticed.

2. Do set a time alone to talk face to face without distractions.

3. Ask questions casually.

  • What are your future plans?
  • Do you see any obstacles to those plans?
  • Are finances an issue in reaching your goals?
  • How might your health affect your plans?
  • How can I help you accomplish your plans?

4. Have your talking points ready.

5. Do not make assumptions about caregiving.

  • If you want your senior parents to downsize, have the facts and figures ready.
  • If you’re concerned about your parents’ health, be ready to offer them options, such as skilled nursing, assisted living, or an alternative.
  • If you’re willing to help them with the modifications and extra care they’ll need to age in place, tell them so.

5. Express your love and care frequently

so they realize your only concern is for them.

6. Include physical contact to express your love and caring.

Hold your dad’s hand. Hug your mom.

7. Realize that your parents may have made some assumptions

about caregiving, financial management, and their estate that aren’t accurate. Communication is key in resolving this issue, and it starts with this conversation.

8. Don’t press them or argue.

If the conversation becomes heated, tell them you didn’t mean to upset them, and you don’t have to talk about it now.

9. Plan for future conversations.

You may not resolve everything in one conversation—or 10 conversations. It’s an ongoing process.

10. Don’t gang up on them.

If you have siblings, appoint one sibling to address your concerns so your parents don’t believe all of you are working against them. If they say that Brother So-and-So isn’t worried, calmly inform them that he has spoken to you about it.

Clearing the air may make this holiday much less stressful than it could have been. Certainly, you and your parents will have a much better idea of what each is thinking.

 

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