How To Have That Awkward Conversation About Ageing With Your Parents
August 4, 2020
For the vast majority of our lives, we don’t have to think about getting old. It’s happening in the background as we get on with work and family.
Eventually, though, the time comes when it finally catches up with us and makes a real impact on what we can and can’t do. What’s more, it can come on suddenly, sometimes without warning.
For parents, it can be challenging to adjust to a new reality. As adults, they’re used to their independence. So when it slips through their fingers without warning, it can be extremely upsetting. Many spend their lives in denial.
As a child, it becomes your responsibility to have that conversation with them about ageing. It’s awkward, but it can also help them adjust to a new reality. That’s what they need, right?
So how do you have this awkward discussion with them? Here are some principles to follow when you broach the subject.
Start Talking About Aging Early
When parents get past sixty, it’s time to start bringing up the topic of ageing. Ideally, you want to chat about it while they’re still in a healthy state. Getting the ball rolling early will prepare them psychologically for what’s coming down the pike. You want to get them used to the idea of maybe having to get residential care or live in a care home, like the one described at https://eastleighcarehomes.co.uk/locations/somerset-care-homes/.
If they get sick and you don’t talk about ageing, then they have to deal with two things at once – the illness itself, and the disruption to their lives. And that’s not a good combination.
Be Empathetic About Their Feelings
Talking to parents about ageing can be a challenge, but put yourself in their shoes. Imagine if somebody told you that you needed to be careful and required more looking after than in the past. You’d feel a little awkward, to say the least. Your independence is important to you.
Think about how ageing is affecting their lives. They’re less able to get around and socialise. And they’re also much more vulnerable now that they’re not as physically robust.
Be A Quality Communicator
Sites like https://www.mentalhelp.net/ talk about how important it is to communicate well when speaking with your parents about ageing.
As we develop our relationship with our parents, we can get into bad habits, like shouting at each other. However, this conversation is very important, so both parties need to commit to being respectful before you start hammering out the details.
In this situation, you can lead by example. Don’t get into a shouting match.
Try To Get Your Parents To Make The Decisions
As a child, you don’t want to tell your parents what to do. Instead, you’re trying to plant ideas in their heads about how they should behave, given their age. This way, it feels as if they are the ones making the decisions, and you’re likely to gain more traction. Most parents don’t like feeling as if you’re forcing your ideas on them.