Any caregiver can tell you of times they’ve met resistance to care from older adults. Sometimes change is necessary in regard to health conditions or other life circumstances. However, the person who needs it may not be open to making those changes. It’s important to be able to talk to your loved ones about the inevitable and plan ahead. Below are tips for navigating these difficult conversations.

The most important thing to try is to put yourself in their shoes during the conversation. Empathy goes a long way in talks like these. Hear their goals and let them know you want to help work towards those goals.

Ask them questions. Instead of telling them what to do, seek out their opinions first. Let them come up with answers. This cuts down on the chance of coming across as condescending. It also empowers them by having them be involved in the problem-solving process. If they deny there is a problem, that is the time to cite specific examples to them about the issue.

Listen to them. Sometimes they may be forthcoming with the reasoning behind their objections. Listening shows them that their input is valuable, which does not happen if you simply tell them that you know best. Listening to them also helps when they are less forthcoming. Finding out the heart of their issues may take a little reading between the lines.

Talk often about this. It may be hard, but if you only talk about issues when the time comes for action, that lessens the chance of success. If you’ve been talking about these possibilities for a while before they become reality, this helps open people up to those changes. Though, it’s also good to know when to drop the conversation, too. If things are beginning to get too heated, change the subject and try again later when tempers are calmer.

Talking about issues related to change is never easy. It’s important to be able to talk about them though as it could mean the difference between smoother golden years or more hectic ones.

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