Communicating With Aging Parents

Nothing is harder than to take a loved one who is aging and whose capacities
are diminishing and to help them make the tough decisions that will ensure
their safety. How do you balance your parents need for independence and
your need that they and others around them are secure.

Studio 5 Relationship Coach Matt Townsend shares four steps that will show
you how to truly C.A.R.E. and communicate that caring for your aging

C hoose The Spirit of Working With Them, Not Against Them

· Which ever spirit you choose, will determine the path, choices, and ability
to resolve the problems you’re facing or trying to talk about with you’re

· The minute you position the issue as a competition, you will lose
cooperation, and when we are competing on something that we should be
cooperating on, it will always cause more problems.

· Show you are working together by spending time, understanding the
problem the way your parents see it.

· Don’t worry that by showing you understand the issue you are inherently
agreeing with them. Take the time to understand their position and then
you’ll have better ideas about how to negotiate with them on the issue.

· Don’t place the problem as a divider between you and them. You love
them unconditionally, no matter what they decide to do.

· That spirit will go a long way to creating the change that is necessary.

A ttend to the Emotional Needs First, and the Logical Needs Second

· I know that the idea of waiting to deal with the logical issues until after
the emotional issues sounds crazy . . . because they could kill themselves
right? In the end however, I’ve found that the fastest way to get this solved is
going to be with them, instead of against them and the only way to get to
them is by going through the emotion.

· You can’t meet a need you don’t understand from their frame of
reference. So if you can’t find a way to show you care about their emotion,
you’ll never get access to change their way of thinking about the issue.

· Remember the rule: “I don’t care how much you know, until I know how
much you care” is the best way to explore this condition.

· The more urgent the situation, then, the more necessary it is to get very
active in addressing the highly emotional feelings that lie deep down inside
the person.

· Some signs that the issues are emotional would be if:

o The people are getting negatively charged and either acting out angrily
or withdrawing from the important conversations.

o The dicussions are getting more and more confusing and
misunderstanding is going up.

o Trust is dropping and the person is starting to not allow you into other
important decisions in their life.

· In reality you are not going to solve the logical problems without
effectively validating and handling the emotional issues, no matter how
logical the problems really are.

R elax & Recognize that Slower, Usually is Faster

· Sometimes it takes each of us time to be willing to let the obvious take
place. Have you ever needed to get your tooth fixed and still delayed a while
just to avoid the obvious procedure, even though you know you had to do it.

· People want to do things on their terms, their way and their timeframe.
That human need echoes back to the deep inner sense that we are actors in
our lives who are to act, and not be acted upon.

· The problem arises when our parent’s thinking or abilities no longer
facilitates the decisions that they need to make. They can hurt others or
themselves and this concerns us, so we start to feel increasing pressure to
make the decisions quickly.

· Remember however, if you can’t get your parents on board to change,
you’re going to inevitably have to rely on other institutions or government
agencies to do the work for you. Guaranteed, those institutions will always
take more time to get something done than you would.

· One of the fastest ways to make sure these things work is to anticipate
and stay ahead of the program, meaning start worrying now about the
decisions that will need to be made about your parents care tomorrow.

E xplore Outside Experts to Communicate For You.

· “Who you are speaks so loudly, people can’t hear what you’re saying.”
That little quote perfectly summarizes the reality that many times you are not
the best person to tell your parents anything.

· You are your parent’s child. Your entire life you have been “holding them
back and here you go again.”

· Many times you are not the best person to communicate the cold hard
truths to your parent because in their eyes you are still just a child. Perhaps
it would be better to have you be the supportive hand that is sitting next to
your parent as their doctor, the police departement or Drivers License
division takes their license away.

· As a professional, I have seen on countless occassions that many people
are much more inclined to believe what I have to say than the person closest
to them has been saying. Sometimes it is my credentials, my approach or the
fact that they are paying to hear it that makes it all more legitimate.

· Call in other experts. Talk to their doctors, or other experts to get advice
and support in how to proceed, and whenever possible, let the professionals
deliver the news and you just sit there and love and support them through it.



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