How to Initiate Family Discussions
By Terri Murphy
I am often asked, “How do I initiate a conversation with my parents to address the concerns that I have”? This is not an easy thing to do, but it must be done if you are concerned for a loved ones safety and well-being.
Start discussions early before you are in the middle of a crisis.
- Include all family members.
- Explain your purpose for initiating the conversation. Make sure that they know you want to make decisions with them and not for them.
- Understand that they control their own life. They have the right to make their own decisions. Give them choices.
- Agree to disagree. Their wishes should prevail unless their health or safety is in jeopardy.
- Communicate effectively. Offer options and not advice.
- Ask about their records and documentation.
- Always be respectful. Treat your loved ones with love and respect.
Discussing your concerns with your loved one is never an easy thing to do. However, when their safety is in jeopardy these difficult things must be addressed. If they will not agree to any changes in their situation and you are worried about their safety, you must take action. You can be firm about the necessity for action, but still give them options so that they are in charge of the final decision.