<!–[CDATA[In today’s busy world, families are often separated by great distances. If you’re the primary family caregiver for your mom or dad, the holidays may be the only time you see your siblings to discuss issues related to caregiving.
But the holidays can be a tough time to tackle such serious issues.
Happy Times, Tough Topics
No one really wants to gather around the table during a holiday feast and bring up “tough” topics, such as moving your parents to an assisted living community or a recent Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
It can be tempting to put off the conversation, and maybe even plan a phone call after the New Year. But an in-person discussion is usually best. So take time to broach the conversation when you’re all together.
If you are the primary caregiver, it’s easier to show that you need some help with caregiving when you can point out the evidence to your siblings and they can see it for themselves.
Prepare for the Talk
Before your siblings arrive home for the holidays, make a list of all the topics you want to cover. This may include retirement planning, paying for senior living, or selling your parents’ home.
Also make a list of things your parent is having a hard time with such as:
- Is the house not as clean as it used to be?
- Is unopened mail, including bills, piling up?
- Does the phone ring a lot with unidentified numbers, which could indicate bill collectors phoning?
- Do your parents seem to be forgetting important facts or events?
- Have they experienced weight loss or weight gain, which could be a sign of illness or that they aren’t eating right?
If a move to senior living is not in the plans right now, you might want to discuss caregiver roles and duties. Perhaps you need assistance from your siblings. Even if they live far away, they may be able to pay for respite care so you can take a break.
When (and How) to Talk
You may want to broach the topic of your parent’s care with your siblings before you talk with your parent. Here are a few tips for making the conversation go more smoothly:
- Don’t tackle the conversation immediately when your family members arrive. They might be worn out from travel and emotions may be running high.
- Suggest taking a drive to talk about things with your siblings. People tend to talk more openly in the car, because there’s less eye contact.
- Once you get the conversation rolling, you can always continue it at home.
Talking with Your Aging Parent about Senior Living
When you speak to your parents, avoid making it look as if you’re conspiring against them. The sibling who is closest to the parents may be the best one to speak to them first.
It also helps to ask open-ended questions to determine how they feel about their situation. While it might be tough to do, ask them about their retirement savings and how well they are managing on their own.
We know families sometimes find it helpful to tour an assisted living community to learn more before they talk with an aging parent. It’s why we extend an open invitation to adult children to visit us at their convenience. Call the Five Star Senior Living community nearest your parent’s home to schedule a private tour today!