Nobody likes initiating a potentially awkward or combative conversation — least of all with your own parents. As your parents get older, you may need to speak frankly with them about estate planning, end-of-life issues, finances, healthcare, assisted living or something of similar importance and weight.

There is no telling how these conversations will go. A lot of it boils down to the personality of your parent. It also hinges on how you bring up the discussion. The tips we offer here are not guaranteed to make the conversation smooth and successful, but they are still good practices to consider.

Do not ambush your parents. Give them some heads-up that you have something important you want to talk to them about; you may even wish to set a time to get together and chat.

Do not gang up on them. You want to make your conversation private and confidential. If you feel it appropriate, you may enlist your spouse or sibling, but you do not want to have too many people present.

Pick the best time and place. You want to chat in a quiet place — so do not try to have this talk while out at an extremely noisy restaurant. Also, pick your timing right — ideally a time when people are cheerful and tempers are not high. Stressful times, like the holidays, may not be ideal.

Be honest. There is no point to mincing words. Let your parents know how you feel. Emphasize that you love them and are concerned about them. Speak from your heart.

Avoid accusation. Do not ever come across like you are accusing your parents of anything; remember to focus on how you feel and on how you are worried about them. “You have been driving erratically” or “you are starting to act weird” are simply not helpful things to say.

Be patient. You may need to give your folks some time to come around, and that may mean having multiple conversations. Do not despair, though. Simply getting a dialogue started is a great first step.

Interested in speaking with an expert in dementia care and discuss what is best for your aging parent? Reach out to CountryHouse today.

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