John Tesh

How To Talk To Your Parents About Aging

When our parents get older it can be hard to step up and take on the role of the “adult.” Whether you need your mom to stop driving – or talk to your dad about going into assisted living. It’s not an easy conversation to have. So here’s how to go about it. This advice comes from David Solie, a psychologist who specializes in aging issues.

He wrote the book, “How To Say It To Seniors.” And he says to start by saying, “I’m worried.” That puts the onus on you – so your parent won’t feel attacked. Then explain why you’re worried, like, “I’m scared something will happen to you if you’re living alone and I’m not close enough to help.” And use facts, like “You had an episode recently that sent you to the hospital.”

If your parent resists and says, “I’m fine,” ask this… “How will you know when you’re not fine? How will you know when it’s time to go live in a facility that can look out for you?” That’ll force your parent to really consider the consequences. But you’re also empowering them to make a decision for themselves. If you still don’t see eye to eye, enlist the help of their doctor. A lot of times, people would rather take advice from someone without an emotional connection – and they’ll take the recommendation of an expert more seriously.

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