When it is time to seek extra care, an alternative living situation for your aging family member, actually bringing up the conversation can be difficult. You may feel nervous, unsure, or awkward about how to best facilitate this discussion. To ease your mind when starting healthcare conversations, follow these simple tips.
- Be Clear: To start, be as direct as possible when talking to your loved one about their health. Beating around the bush will only leave them feeling confused or left out of the decision. For example, if you want to place washable bed pads for incontinence on their bed, say these words directly. This will eliminate the margin for misunderstanding.
- Start Early: Don't wait until the last minute to bring up extra care. Your loved one's health is something worth planning ahead for, so start these conversations as early as possible. This is especially important if you will need to hire a nurse or other in-home care provider to perform tasks such as changing a pleurx catheter, providing specific diabetic care, or changing kangaroo feeding bags.
- Show Empathy: Be gentle and patient in your delivery, and be sure to leave space for your loved one to respond and ask questions. Practice active listening to show that they are being heard. The idea of sleeping on washable bed pads for incontinence or using diapers for adults may be embarrassing for your family member. Understand that.
- Revisit The Conversation: The conversation about your loved one's future care does not have to happen all at once. Rather than dropping one big weight on them, have a series of smaller conversations. This will allow your family member to digest the information and accept the necessity of increased care. More than one-fourth of all Americans and two-thirds of older Americans are living with multiple chronic conditions, which accounts for 66% of the national healthcare budget. As your loved one ages, their chronic conditions may change. Check in on occasion to address any additional health needs.
When having these conversations with your loved one, be sure to focus on the benefits. Remember that you are bringing up these topics to help them, not harm them. To ease the process, involve other trusted family members or even a counselor. Be patient with your loved one and with yourself. Results will come in time.