“YOU” versus “I” - What to say and how to say it so that your parents will listen
Caregiving is universally the greatest art of love. Still, it could wreck your life if you do not apply practical strategies for communicating your needs, being heard, retaining the appropriate professional services, staying sane and finding balance in your role as a family caregiver. Most of us have difficulty talking to our aging loved ones about the complex topic of “aging and independence.” The problem is that the parents don’t want to hear things that remind them that they are losing their independence. They think they are doing just fine and do not appreciate the interference of their children and/or the professionals their children have hired to help.
Good advice can be great, and it makes a difference in who gives it and when it is given. How you approach your loved ones about your concerns can tremendously impact how receptive they are. First, know your reason for raising your concerns. Here are a few questions to ask yourself.
Do you want to discuss an issue, or do you want your parents to do what you think needs to be done?
Are you acting out of concern or out of self-interest?
Do you want them to make a change because it will enhance their independence or because it will make you worry less?
Do your parents have specific challenges or have there been incidences that warrant change? Or are you concerned simply because of their age?
If you struggle with the answers to these questions, I invite you to the next going home, staying home. It’s a weekly telephone/ virtual gathering of nurses, elder care consultants and family caregivers. Next time, we will be discussing strategies for talking to your aging loved ones in a way that they will listen and respond. I can email you the replay link if you would like to join or listen in but cannot. Just call or email me anytime at the ComfortMakers office.