Tough Care Conversations with Older Loved Ones

seniorsUnfortunately, there are just some facts of life that are hard to handle – they aren’t easy for anyone. As your loved ones get older there are tough conversations that naturally must happen to make sure they have the highest level of geriatric care. These tough topics including things such as therapy, home health, assisted living, “mobility, health, and safety in the home for friends and relatives. 1” So what do you do when these situations arise? Here are the keys for managing the tough care conversations that must be had with senior adults:

Don’t put off having the conversations. While procrastination sometimes seems easier than having the actual conversation, when serious conversations need to be had, do not put it off. “Delaying the discussion could result in a more significant decline, accident or other crisis. 1” For the best interest and care of your geriatrics care family members; please have the courage to take the first step in these conversations. 1

Be sensitive. This may seem like an obvious tactic to employ when approaching a tough subject with your loved one regarding their care, but it deserves some attention here. Tough tactics will inevitably cause some dissention, which means that while you may consider yourself a sensitive person, you must be extra sensitive in these situations. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand how they may feel.

Provide options and be informed. You may think you know what is best for your geriatric loved one’s care, “when you start the conversation, it’s wise to state that there aren’t ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ choices. Be open to exploring all options that they suggest but also share your own findings.1” Do your research and be informed about the best routes. 1

Don’t be afraid to have a plan. There is definitely value in natural conversation, but if you are going to present a tough topic regarding your loved one’s geriatric care or other tough topics, try “outlining the general points you want to make may bolster your confidence.1” Don’t overthink this, but understand that this step will allow you to keep important care points top-of-mind. 1

What other tactics do you use to approach tough conversations about your loved one’s geriatric care and other topics?

1Madell, R. (2014). How to approach difficult talks with an aging loved one. Healthways Fit. Retrieved Oct. 28, 2014 from