How to Respectfully Suggest Support or Care to a Loved One?
Most older adults are happy, healthy and fully independent. However, as they age at some point in time physical and mental changes can interfere with an active and independent lifestyle.
Many older adults believe they don’t need in-home support or care at that point in time. Listen to our audio message below to get some tips on how to respectfully suggest support or care to a loved one.
SENIOR SUPPORT AUDIO TRANSCRIPT
The first thing we suggest is to put yourself in their shoes. Think about how you’d feel if someone was basically telling you that you need help. Now some people just don’t like asking for help. Maybe they’ve been independent for so many years they don’t feel comfortable asking for help. This could come across as being stubborn but no judgement, right? Maybe they’ve been taught that asking for help is a sign of weakness. So let’s not assume we know their reason.
Ok, here are three suggestions on how to get started:
1) Prepare your mindset. You want to create a conversation with a show of respect and truly hear them without a negative response. This means watch out for negative facial expressions and don’t expect them to make a decision right away.
2) Have a light and friendly conversation. You’re starting a conversation about a difficult subject for them. The idea is to plant a seed for support or care in your conversation with no expectations of a decision right away. They need time to take in and think about what you are suggesting. And if the first conversation doesn’t go well, acknowledge that you heard them. That shows a sign of respect. Also, if you can’t help them this time, be kind, don’t hurt them with words. Try again, another day.
3) Ask open-ended questions. These are questions that require a response other than a yes or no answer. It encourages them to talk and open-up about possible struggles they’re facing. Start with questions that begin with how, what, where, or when. And try to steer away from “why” questions as it can make people feel defensive about what they’ve said.
Now you’re ready to open the conversation with something simple like; how’s your day so far, Mom or Dad?
- Here are a few examples of open-ended questions:
- How can we help make life easier for you with your day-to-day chores?
- What would you suggest to a friend who’s struggling to keep up with all their chores?
- How could we help to make your meals more interesting and tastier? Meals that you look forward to eating.
- When you do your daily or weekly chores, which ones cause you some frustration or anxiety? Things like; laundry, housekeeping, preparing meals, or running errands, just to name a few.
Now some people may take a few conversations before they open-up, so always keep it light and respectful no matter what their response. However, if your loved one does show an interest in getting some form of support or care, you have succeeded! You’ve allowed them to decide for themselves what to do about a serious change in their own life. You showed them the respect they deserve and helped them keep their dignity.
Here is a quote from a well-known author Roy T. Bennett
“Respect other people’s feelings. It might mean nothing to you, but it could mean everything to them.”