How to Have Difficult Discussions with Your Parent

Apr 23rd, 2018

Talking about serious issues with your parent can be difficult.

If you’re noticing age-related issues that may be putting your parent at risk, you shouldn’t wait to begin the conversation.

Here’s how to have “the talk” with your parent.


Come Prepared

Make note of your concerns and be ready to point out specific examples. For example, if driving is the issue, is your parent not following the speed limit? Drifting into other lanes? Are they distracted? Do you see unexplained dents on their car?

It may be helpful to talk to a close friend of your parent as well, to see what they may have observed.


Consider the Messenger

You may not have to be the one initiating the discussion with your loved one. Someone else may be the better messenger. Consider talking about your concerns to your parent’s doctor or other healthcare professional. Their doctor can bring up those concerns at their next appointment and may deliver the discussion in a way they may take more seriously.


If not the messenger, a healthcare professional, police officer or elder law attorney may be able to connect you with resources for your parent that you may not have been aware of, whether that’s a driving assessment, vehicle modifications, or other life adjustments. Your parent may be a good candidate for assisted living.


Be Respectful

You know your parent. Try to anticipate how they may respond. It’s likely that it could be difficult for them to talk about. Acknowledge that early in your conversation, and bring up those specific examples that you’ve researched.

It shouldn’t feel like an intervention. Try to make them feel as comfortable as possible. Because of this, the talk may be best had in a private one-on-one setting. Don’t confront them or make accusations. Instead, present the information as observations you have made, and concerns that you have.


Listen to Your Parent

You’re going to have to work together with them to find possible solutions. A conversation about driving doesn’t necessarily mean they should be cut off from driving right away. But acknowledge that if that happens, your parent will need an alternative form of transportation to get where they need to go.

Listening to any anxiety or resistance on the issue will help you take their concerns into account and come up with a solution everyone is happy with.


At Kingsley Shores Senior Living, our compassionate staff aren’t afraid to have difficult conversations. Residents here are treated like individuals. Our independent or assisted living apartments may be a good fit for your loved one.