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1. Start early. This mean less pressure and you have the luxury to stop and pick up the conversation if you need to take a pause. 
2. Include other family members. Family dynamics differ but ultimately you are not alone.
3. Let them know why you are having the conversation. Your parents love you. Your concerns are their concerns. 
4. Keep in mind, your parents still need to be independent. The goal is for them to remain independent as long as they can with minimum intrusion. They need to be in control of their lives.
5. Agree to disagree. It it important to respect their wishes but safety comes first. 
6. Use good communication skills, despite the highly emotion topics. Offering options is more effective that offering advice. 
7. When the time is right, ask about records and documentation. insurance policies, wills, health care proxies, living wills, trust documents, tax returns, and investment and banking records are located. You can start by asking your parent where they keep their papers, and whom you should contact in case they're in an accident, or are incapacitated. But understand they may be hesitant to disclose all information but  this might make it a bit easier.
8. Your parents may not have all the information. Learn about long-term health care insurance together. Medicare does not cover it and medicaid only covers low income individuals. 
9. Re-evaluate. When the situation shifts or if you can't have all the conversations at once.... revisit. 
10. Always be respectful.While old age can be a rewarding time, it is also often a time of loss - of loved ones, of health, and of independence. Treat your parents with love and respect, and reassure them that you will be there for them as they age. 
11. Remember you can plant a seed with a whisper more than you can with a scream. 

Because You Care

Resou
rces: https://www.agingwithdignity.org/forms/5wishes.pdf

Inspired by: "Ten Tips for Talking to Your Aging Parents", AARP Health Care Options/Met Life Mature Market Institute


 
 

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1.     Seek support from other caregivers.  You are not alone! 
2.     Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
3.     Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you. 
4.     Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors. 
5.     Caregiving is hard work so take respite breaks often.
6.     Watch out for signs of depression and don't delay in getting professional help when you need it. 
7.     Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one. 
8.     Organize medical information so it's up to date and easy to find.
9.     Make sure legal documents are in order.
10. Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!
11. As much as you can try to plan ahead to avert crisis. We are all approaching the inevitable. 

Because You Care

First published by Caregivers Action Network


 
 
Worried that you or a loved one may one day run into some medical emergency and you are not there to tell medical history highlights? Stop worrying and do something about it.  Make your own medical emergency card for each family member.  
All you need: an index card and a pen or even better just print this card. 


Because You Care