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Jeff spoke with Anne Browning of Homewatch CareGivers about how to discuss the sensitive topic of future care assistance needs with your loved one who may need help.

Bringing up the topic.

The older generation is very proud and likes their independence, so having this discussion can be a very difficult.  Some approaches may be…

It’s not a good idea to tell the person you need to do this or that.  Parents tend to become very defensive when their children try to tell them what to do. After all, you are still their child. Approach it from the angle of “What do you want or what do you advise? or “Let’s be prepared for the future.” Most people think that the future is never going to come or that everything is going to stay the same — which we know is not the case. Being prepared for the future is why we need to have these conversations today.

How would you suggest dealing with the guilt people have about bringing these things up or being unable to provide 100% of the care for a loved one?

Take the emotion out of it.

We all want to be super people and take care of all the needs of the family – our children, as well as our parents. A good approach from a practical/pragmatic perspective, rather than an emotional one, is to talk about other older relatives’ care assistance difficulties and their impact on other family members. Use their experiences to segway into these often-awkward conversations with your parents or loved ones.  “This happened with Uncle Bob. We know that it may not happen with you, but what would we do to be prepared in case it does occur?” 

Communicate with close family members.

Engaging your family is also helpful. Most families have one take-charge person who wants to plan everything, and the other siblings let them.  However, this approach often creates a lot of animosity that can build up because of the tensions it creates. A better approach is keeping open communication between other family members and making the process more of a team effort.

If you have any additional questions about care assistance, please contact Homewatch CareGivers at (919) 960-6038 or visit

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