Page 4 - HCN Senior Planning Guide August 2020
P. 4

Having the Talk
Ten Tips on How to
Does Your Loved One Need
 Approach a Difficult Topic From the AARP FOUNDATION
Help? Some Scenarios From VISITING ANGELS
The reality is that some conversations are just plain difficult — even with the people to whom you feel the closest. When preparing to discuss a difficult topic like senior care needs, it helps to follow the ground rules below to en- sure that everyone’s feelings are respected and viewpoints are heard. To help make the conversation as productive and positive as possible:
1.Try not to approach the conversation with preconceived ideas about what your loved ones might say or how they might react. “Dad, I just wanted to have a
talk about what you want. Let’s just start with what is important to you.”
2.Approach the conversation with an attitude of listening, not telling. “Dad, have you thought about what you want to do if you needed more help?” — as op-
posed to “we really need to talk about a plan if you get sick.”
3.Make references to yourself and your own thoughts about what you want for the future. Let them know they are not alone, that everyone will have to make these decisions. “Look, I know this isn’t fun to think about or talk about, but I really
want to know what’s important to you. I’m going to do the same thing for myself.”
Here are sample conversation starters and strategies to introduce home-care services to your loved one. Each scenario is a catalyst to take action and start talking. Prior to talking, prepare and arrange with a reliable friend or your
spouse to take part in the plan.
SCENARIO: Your loved one mentions plans to drive to the grocery store. He’s shown signs of unsafe driving (getting lost or confused or unexplained dents on the car). Coordinate with a trusted neighbor, friend, or spouse to serve as a driver for one trip.
SAY: “I see you’re planning to go to the grocery store. I think it would be a great idea to ride with [the neighbor/friend/spouse] next time or even hire a professional who can take you where you need to go. You could tell her exactly where you want to go, and she’ll get you there. You’d be in control.”
SCENARIO: You noticed your mom or dad isn’t eating.
SAY: “I don’t have the time to stay and cook tonight, but [neighbor/friend/ spouse] loves to cook, and said she would love to cook with you tomorrow night, and she won’t have to leave early. Then you won’t have to worry about making dinner, and the family will feel good knowing someone’s with you to help you out in the kitchen. You can tell them what you’d like to eat, and you’ll be in total control. Let’s at least try it and talk
about it afterward to see if it’s an Scenarios arrangement you’d like.” Continued on page 24
4.Be very straightforward with the facts. Do not hide negative information, but also be sure to acknowledge and
  build on family strengths. “As time goes Talk
Continued on page 24
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