For many people, there comes a time when they have to help a loved one make a hard choice about future living arrangements and health care. While the choice can be difficult and emotional, there are logical steps to take that can lessen all parties’ anxiety or stress. Here is what you need to know to make the process easier and worthwhile.
Do Your Homework Before the Conversation
The first step is knowing as much as possible about what kind of health care your senior will need and what challenges and impediments will affect that care. Observe your loved one. Ask questions using a caring tone of voice. Take notes. Don’t snoop through medications or into doctors’ communications. Instead, ask permission to speak directly to your senior’s doctors to help him or her navigate this challenge.
Check out resources on the internet. The National Council on Aging has several good resources, for example, as do many online magazines geared toward senior citizens. You can arrange to tour a variety of senior housing Denver CO by contacting them via their websites. Government and non-profit agencies such as AARP each have websites with practical ideas.
Collect printed material from your loved one’s doctors’ offices, such as informational packets and brochures. Even a tech-savvy senior will likely be helped by having something physical to hold and look at while you make this decision.
Have the Conversation With Your Loved One
Broach the subject gently by making sure your senior is comfortable and in a good frame of mind. Begin the conversation by stating that you need to talk about a future that ensures his or her safety, comfort and health for as long as possible. Listen to your senior’s concerns. While some of these will be legitimate, others won’t seem to be — to you. Treat all of those worries calmly and with respect, including the ones that may seem ridiculous.
Be ready to introduce the material and information you’ve collected and then retreat to allow your senior time to process everything. Before tabling your discussion, however, set a follow-up time so your loved one knows how long he or she has to think about things.
Determining a loved one’s course of care is a big decision. You improve your chances of success through your willingness to both be prepared and empathetic. Take time to accomplish this, and always show your love and care for them.