Monday, 24 February 2014

Getting through the hard stuff - discussing care and relocation

 How do you discuss care and relocation with someone you love? How do you convince them that giving up some independence may actually keep them independent for longer?

I think this ranks among one of the more difficult discussions anyone can have. And sometimes, it takes many tries and some added help before the other person truly understands the concerns. I think often people get into a groove of functioning in a certain way and as long as nothing major happens (and sometimes this is because there is someone else in the house with them which may allow them to function in a co-dependent fashion) they don't realize the potential dangers or issues that others outside their setting see. Sometimes when that second person is gone, things fall apart and then reality sets in. I think the trick, is getting the supports in before this happens. So how do we do this? For the 'caregiver'/family, I think you need patience and you need to be able to open the lines of communication. Often both are very difficult to do. It might be easier though, if you start talking early on. Before anyone is sick, or in need of help or things hit a crisis point.

I know when I have done lectures separately for seniors and children of seniors, there is a common theme. They are both worried about what the future holds, but they are also both afraid to talk about it to the other person. Everyone is waiting for the 'best time' to talk about it when there really isn't one. But, being 'afraid' doesn't make anything better or anything go away. Talking about it may actually  be the thing that makes things better - it will give you an understanding of where the other person stands, what they want and what makes sense in terms of their financial situation and other factors. And talking about it early on allows you both to plan. The longer you leave a discussion like this, the less likely you will have much choice when the time comes.

Sometimes it's easier to start talking when you make it about someone else. For example, talk about a friend both of you know, who didn't plan ahead and who had a crisis that created a major problem for all parties. Use it as a way to broach the subject as it relates to them and what they would want. If the person refuses to have the conversation, you may have to wait a bit to raise it again or bring in others to aid you like a trusted clergy or doctor. Unfortunately, there are situations where people do live at risk and there is nothing anyone can do about it. In these situations, sometimes things do have to get worse or a crisis has to happen, before any intervention can happen. Bottom line - if someone is competent, you can't force anything nor can you make decisions for them without their consent.

Next time.... Having the Talk...........

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