The subject of your parent’s need of extra support may be an emotional subject for your siblings. Talking to them about securing that extra support is an important conversation. Approach it with sensitivity. Keep empathy and understanding in the forefront and guide the focus to stay on finding the best solution for your parent’s well-being.
10 tips to help guide that conversation:
1 – Prepare first: Take the time to gather all the information about your parent’s situation and their needs. Be sure to know about health issues, financial concerns, and any specific care requirements they may have. Having all the facts will keep the discussion on track and focused.
2 – Pick the right time and the right place: Find a time that works for everyone and a private, comfortable place for the conversation. Make sure all your siblings can participate without distractions.
3 – Introduce your concerns and observations: Start by expressing your genuine concern for your aging parent. Share any specific observations that make you believe they need extra support. Be open and honest while being respectful of your sibling’s perspectives.
4 – Listen to everyone: Encourage your siblings to share their thoughts and observations, everyone should have a voice. The others may have different perspectives or knowledge of the situation. Take time to understand their thoughts, you may learn something.
5 – Discuss your parent’s needs: Together, discuss the specifics of how your aging parent needs additional support. This will likely include more than medical care encompassing household chores, emotional needs, or assistance with daily activities.
6 – Consider potential solutions: Brainstorm as a group support options to help your parent. These may include contacting a home health or private services provider or making modifications to their living arrangements. Discuss your parent’s preferences while considering potential solutions.
7 – Assign responsibilities: Sharing the caregiving will ensure that undue burden doesn’t fall on one person. There is always a lead sibling or in some cases a default sibling who is left with the task of caring for parents. Share the burden. Be sensitive. Consider the strengths, availability, and proximity of each sibling. One can do financials, and another can do coordination. Offer to come in town and give the sibling a break who is caring or be willing to arrange a private services company to help lighten the load.
8 – Calmly address any conflicts: There may be disagreements or conflicts during the conversation. If the conversation gets tense, take a break, and come back to the table when everyone has calmed down. Focus on finding common ground. Keep your parent’s best interests as the primary focus.
9 – If possible, involve your parent: If your parent can participate in the conversation, involve them in the decision-making process. Their input and preferences are important to consider if you are to find the solution most palatable to them.
10 – Communicate regularly: After a plan has been set, keep communicating regularly with your siblings about your parent’s well-being and the effectiveness of the support you have provided. Adjust the plan as necessary if the situation evolves or additional observations are gained.
Every family dynamic is unique. Coming to an agreement takes time. Be patient, show and encourage understanding, and be willing to compromise for the sake of your aging parent’s happiness and quality of life. Be aware that there is guilt associated with the process. Parents don’t want to lose independence. They don’t want to move or take the steps that may be necessary to guarantee their safety. Work past any guilt that they may attempt to leverage or that you put on yourself. Partner with Nurses & Company to help your parents age in place and retain as much independence as possible.