'That Conversation' - health living
Why is this so frustrating?
The only thing worse than helping our parents find an assisted living or skilled nursing care is attempting the conversation regarding the need for this move. We all want the peace of mind that is governed by independence. There are very few people who want to share all their private lives with strangers. The moves we are discussing lean toward the loss of independence even when we are true concerns for the welfare of the person. It is known even if never discussed, this move will possibly be the last or possibly be a move that will see us right into a Skilled Nursing Facility. (In other words a Nursing Home). Even when the family means all the best of wishes for a spouse, parent, brother, sister, a close friend and so forth, there is still the undercurrent of ‘being put out to pasture’.
Surely how we began the conversation about the move is a springboard that will guide the conversation and as such can mean the difference between a positive or negative outcome. Every conversation will we have begins somewhere. Perhaps this conversation needs to begin prior to the need. The families having the best of all conversations seem to have one thing in common, starting this conversation at a time of calm and before there is truly a need.
Now you may be thinking that the optimum for a good conversation has already passed and now there is only one way for this conversation to go (downhill). This is not true. The conversation can begin at any time. It is just less difficult when everyone is in a ‘safer’ place. And that means no matter where or when this is the topic, those needing the information must begin by setting a tone or mood for calm and safety.
Calm and safety mean being sure the person in need does not feel they are being ‘discarded’. Giving choice and concern for the questions will go a very long way. This will help all involved to make a decision that will not be ‘second guessed’. Even when the person is in a hospital and it is clear that they will never be able to go ‘home’ and live by themselves again, begin with a simple discussion of ‘how they are feeling right now’. At each stage of the conversation on a positive and ‘ultimate caring position for the wishes’ of the person in need of the help. ‘Always’ leave the door open for the person to return to the ‘least restrictive care solution’.
No one among us knows for sure that the person will not be able to return to the living situation they want. It is most important to remember ‘depression’ is the major factor in the decline of any person with a medical issue that will create a loss of independence. Loss of independence or anger can be the precursor to a substantial decline in health. Although the above information seems to not be much, it will help getting the conversation started and keep it on a positive note.
Reading through this article you have noticed several steps that have been in quotes. These steps are very important to maintain a positive and healthy conversation for all concerned in the situation.