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Tips for discussing a parent's care needs as a family

As parents get older, their needs change. Such changes don't just affect them, though; they also affect family members.

Because of this, your parent's needs can be a topic for family discussion. As this article suggests, holding a family meeting could be a good way to share information and collaborate on a plan. To make this discussion easier, kinder and more productive, consider the following tips.

Make your parent part of the conversation

One of the fastest ways to derail a family discussion is to exclude your parent. Leaving them out or making decisions around them, rather than with them, can make them hostile and angry. 

To avoid this, make sure your parent is not just at the meeting, but also an active participant, if possible. Keep in mind, however, that this can be uncomfortable and upsetting for your parent. So be patient, let them ask questions, and make sure your parent knows that you only want what is best for them and that you respect their choices.

Be open to suggestions

Too many people approach these discussions with a single solution in mind. Parents and family members alike can set their minds on one outcome and refuse to consider any alternatives.

However, being flexible and open to suggestions is crucial in finding a solution that everyone can agree on. You might assume the only option for your parent is to enter a care facility, but he or she may prefer in-home care or personal alert systems.

Take the time to examine the options and determine whether they are feasible. Even if you ultimately go with the original idea, all parties can feel satisfied that they explored other options before deciding on a care plan.

Focus on the big picture

A parent's failing health can be very upsetting for adult children and other loved ones, and everyone handles this grief differently. Those emotions combined with difficult family dynamics can create considerable tension at these meetings.

Because of this, every person should commit to compromising, listening and focusing on the most important aspect - your parent's needs. If someone is not willing to be supportive in this way, he or she may opt out of the meeting. 

Above all, it is important to approach these meetings with respect and compassion. No one wants to have these types of discussions, but they are necessary to ensure loved ones have the care and support they need.

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