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Approaching Difficult Health Topics with Seniors

Some seniors may be more sensitive than others about keeping their health concerns private, even from close family members, but sometimes just showing you care can open your loved one up to discussing such subjects. The staff at Summit Home Care Assistance offers these tips for how to approach difficult health topics with your senior loved one.

Start with Compassion

Many elderly peopletalk about their health with their friends, as it’s an area of common interest. If you commit to daily compassionate interactions with your loved one, you can also become his or her friend, which can lead to natural opportunities to discuss otherwise difficult health concerns.

Give and Take

Your loved one may sometimes feel isolated and embarrassed by his or her health challenges. Instead of putting your loved one on the spot, begin the conversation by drawing attention to your own medical issues. Ask your loved one for advice first, and then show gratitude by asking how you can be of help.

Be Specific

Make a list of the specific health concerns you’re having difficulty discussing. Instead of having one dramatic interaction with your loved one, find small, loving ways to address single issues. Instead of saying, “We need to talk about your health,” ask something specific like, “How are your eyes these days?”

Do More Listening than Talking

It’s common for seniors to fear loss of control of their lives, especially when they are experiencing decreased health. By being a conscientious, friendly listener and by not overreacting, you can encourage your loved one to see you as a confidant instead of someone who wants to threaten his or her independence.

Focus on Empowerment

Don’t assume you know the correct way to handle someone else’s health. Respect your loved one’s autonomy and wisdom. Instead of saying, “This is what I think you should do,” ask him or her, “What do you feel you should do?” and “What’s the best way for me to help?”

Once you’ve successfully discussed any health issues with your loved one, you may have discovered he or she faces some challenges around the house that require professional assistance. For trusted in-home caregiving services, get in touch with Home Care Assistance. We offer part-time and 24-hour care in Summit, and all of our caregivers are trained in the holistic Balanced Care Method, which promotes a healthy diet, daily exercise, and social ties, and encourages seniors to find calmness and purpose as they age in place. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at 908.450.9400 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.