Talking to your aging adult about important topics, especially those involving her safety, doesn’t always go how you want it to. In a perfect world, you’d have total control over her safety. You may have to develop a plan that is more realistic. Here are a few ways to make these talks go more smoothly.
Be Specific with Your Concerns.
If you’re vague with what is bothering you, it’s easier for your elderly family member to overlook what you’re trying to say. This may not be an easy conversation, but you still need to have it. Bring examples to the conversation that support why you are worried. For example, if you’re talking about your senior continuing to drive, let her know why it worries you. Perhaps she’s had some tickets or she’s been in an accident. These are the types of examples you need to discuss.
Frame Your Concerns as Requests for Advice.
In some cases, it might help to remove the personal from the equation. Try asking your senior what she would do if she saw someone else in her situation. Try offering a series of solutions, such as having elder care providers offering transportation, having family members be on call to drive, or utilizing local transportation options. She may be able to choose an option hypothetically that truly is appealing.
Listen to What She’s Telling You.
You’re trying to get your elderly family member to listen to you, which is understandable, but you need to offer her the same in return. Some of her responses might clue you in to deeper feelings she’s experiencing. Fear can disguise itself as anger, for example, which can make it difficult to understand why she’s reacting the way that she is.
Allowing the conversation to devolve into an argument may be just what your aging family member wants. This means that the conversation moves away from your concerns and is much more likely to end without coming to a resolution. It allows your aging adult to hide from unpleasant topics.
Step Back and Reframe.
If you feel that you’re close to arguing or you want to do so, it’s time to step back from the conversation. Let it go for now and you can regroup on your own. Take the time to evaluate how the last encounter went so that you can use what you’ve learned.
Make sure that you continue to let your senior know that you respect her thoughts and feelings, even if you still disagree about some of the issues you’re discussing.