It’s not easy, but it’s a topic that often has to be addressed at one time or another. Talking with your aging parents or an elderly family member about living assistance can be a taxing conversation for both parties.

Change is never easy, especially for those who have lived in their house for decades and have made countless memories under the same roof.  So it’s understandable that your loved ones might not want to leave the place that they have called home for many years.

As hard as it may be, it’s a good idea to talk with your parents about their future while they are still healthy and of sound mind. Planning ahead is the first step in the process and helps to avoid the stress of having to make the decision quickly if an unexpected change were to occur.

Here are a few pieces of advice to help start the conversation on the right note and to overcome the possible hurdles that might get in the way.

A subtle approach-To begin the dialogue, approach it in a way that is not directly geared toward your loved ones. Find a way to indirectly bring up the topic; perhaps you could mention a close friend whose mother is making the move, or one of their friends who is no longer able to live alone, for example. This will indirectly bring up the topic and could potentially lead into a deeper conversation.

Avoid parenting role reversals- Keep in mind that you are still their child and they are still your parents. Clearly articulate to your parents that you aren’t trying to control them, you are simply looking out for their best interests. Showing them that you aren’t trying to take over power and that your relationships are at status quo will help to keep the conversation on steady ground.

Stay calm- Setting the right tone could make or break the conversation. Be mindful of your demeanor, and try your best to not raise your voice and keep a calm conversation.

Empathize- Make it known to your loved ones that you are concerned about them. Articulate to them that you can understand how they feel as well, but that it might be a good idea to explore some options for the future. Always remember to empathize with the person to let them know that you have taken their feelings into account.

Listen- Just as voicing your opinions is valuable to the dialogue, it’s also very important to listen. Make a conscious effort to validate their feelings, but never respond with anger. Just as we said before, do your best to keep the tone of the conversation calm and avoid shouting over one another.

Although this is a tough conversation to have with your loved ones, it doesn’t have to put a strain on your relationship. When the time comes to talk to your parents about living assistance, keep in mind these tips to help ease the tension and to calmly address the topic.

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