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5 Tips for Tackling Tough Senior Conversations on Aging

  • Sep 28, 2017
  • Meaghan Puglisi
  • 3-min Read

You want to spark your aging loved one’s life but how? Every time you bring up needing a little extra support or senior care services, they are adamant they don’t need it.

Lifesprk Life Care Managers (registered nurses) have helped many people broach these tough subjects and have learned that emphasizing the positive and putting your elder in control of the decision making (for all aspects of senior care) makes all the difference in turning tough conversations into sparked opportunities.

Here are five tips to get you started:

  1. How to raise the issue: A good place to start is asking questions like “You tell me where to start, what’s important to you. How do you feel the current home care service is working – is there anything you’d like to add so you can get out of the house more and go golfing?” or “We know you don’t want to bother us, Mom. Would it be helpful if we added in some extra hours each week to take you to the store or church and help you shop? That way you don’t have to worry about it and it would make me feel better.”
  2. Start the conversation with: “Dad, what are you afraid of?” Let him know that he doesn’t have to be afraid of losing control, that by offering to help, you are helping him preserve his independence. Many seniors fear losing control and wait until a crisis occurs to broach the subject of needing home care or other senior care services. Starting those conversations early and often help alleviate fears and be proactive.
  3. Building trust is key: As the relationship builds between you and your older loved one and anyone regularly helping them, they will begin to feel comfortable and more at ease knowing things are still being cared for and they’re in charge of what they are. Often, they begin to really enjoy the feeling of clean sheets and a home-cooked meal again and their attitude begins to change. Gradually, you can begin adding more assistance, such as help with daily routines like showering or food preparation if that’s an issue.
  4. If the senior is really adamant about not needing any help, have a third party, like Lifesprk, walk them through their house and point out areas that they may not realize could be an issue. Sometimes you have to be blunt and directly address major issues to prevent falls or other safety hazards.  People will be more apt to accept help if they think someone else might be in danger due to issues such as difficulty keeping the house clean.
  5. Move towards solutions that maximize independence. Nothing has to be solved right away but making plans to change a few things at a time will help. Guiding seniors toward making their own decisions will help them see the positive possibilities and make the conversation go smoother.

If you need ideas or suggestions starting conversations and improving outcomes, call our Navigation team for guidance 24/7 at 952-345-0919 or set up a free consultation to review some of these points.


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