Discussing the Future with the Seniors in Your Life: 4 Tips
While discussing the future holds the excitement of untapped possibilities earlier in our lives, talking about the future towards the end of one’s life can be a dismal topic that many people might try to avoid. It’s understandable to hold this often uncomfortable topic at an arm’s length, but eventually, these conversations must take place between you and your elderly loved ones. Whether it’s for possible future health or care-related issues or end-of-life topics, here are a few tips for discussing the future with the seniors in your life.
1: Let Them Take the Lead
Give your elderly loved ones a chance to bring up the subjects themselves. Maybe they have a friend they’re closer to in age who might be going through some changes such as moving into assisted living. Watching their friend go through such a marked transition may prod your loved one to start the conversation about their plans or wishes for themselves, should they eventually require a change like that.
2: Give Them Control
When discussing future plans, give your elderly loved one as much control as possible. If they’re still of sound mind, give them an opportunity to delegate who they would like to speak for them if and when they are no longer capable of doing so themselves. Let them know with sincerity that their preferences and wishes will be honored to the best of your ability to do so. Hopefully, you can give them some peace of mind that no matter what they will be taken care of.
3: Make Some Mental Notes Now Instead of Later
If you feel like it may be “too soon” to talk about future plans with your senior loved one, pay close attention to your normal conversations. If they say things like “I wouldn’t want to have ‘x’ kind of treatment,” or “I would prefer to have this type of situation handled in a certain way,” make mental notes of these types of statements. In the future, when the conversation regarding such things finally takes place, you can think back and say, “I heard you express this once, is it still relevant for your intentions going forward?” It will help your loved ones to feel more understood and they will appreciate you looking for clarification on how they want things to be done.
4: Sooner is Better than Later
While these topics can be uncomfortable, remind your elderly loved one that it’s better to have certain plans in place or decisions made before an emergency or disaster occurs. This will help them and their advocates avoid having to make hard decisions too quickly and will make any changes easier on everyone.
LiveWell Placements Can Help with Your Future
Talking about the future with the elderly can sometimes be a hard subject to broach, but oftentimes it’s a necessary conversation to make sure they have had a chance to communicate what their wishes would be in certain situations. Many of us all eventually go through similar changes in our lifetimes and having our family and friends informed on what we want ahead of time makes big changes a little easier to handle.
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