Difficult conversations in later life

As our loved ones get older, it can be difficult for them to tell us when they need help. And on the other hand, talking to our loved ones about their changing abilities and needs, can equally be as difficult a subject for us too.

Conversations about health, care, managing of finances and moving home are not everyday topics and lots of us don’t feel confident when bringing them up. However, it’s important to have these conversations so you can ensure that your loved ones are thinking about the future and know you are there to help.

How you go about talking through these conversations is equally as important as the decisions that are made, so we’ve made a list of ideas about how to get started.

Start having conversations early

One of the most important things is to start these types of conversations early. If you only talk about things when there is an emergency or crisis then it may add unnecessary pressure and make loved ones anxious about making the right choice. Starting difficult conversations early, when everyone is relaxed, means you can take time to explore different options available.

Remember to listen carefully

Listening to loved ones is important - ask for their opinions and thoughts and listen to their concerns along the way.

Include other family members

Where possible bring other family members into the conversation. If you have differences of opinion try to work these through before talking to your loved ones. Having a unanimous consensus is a nicer and more supportive way to begin discussions with your loved ones.

Do some research

Look into what resources are available that could help. By doing research first, you will be equipped to answer any questions they may have.

Respect their wishes

Remember that it’s important to respect your loved ones wishes. Think about their happiness, health and wellbeing when you’re having difficult conversations.

Be there to provide reassurance throughout every stage as it can help to make things easier. Sometimes you may have to agree to disagree on different decisions even though you might feel like it isn’t the right one.

Be patient, these things take time

When you start discussions, have an open mind and be patient. We know it’s good to talk, but talking isn’t always easy. It may take many conversations over long periods before they’re able to see that things need changing.

Taking the time to talk to your loved ones about anything regarding their health, wellbeing, finances, home and independence can be tough, but if you approach things in the right way, it can help to enhance and improve your relationship.

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