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Use these methods to talk to an aging parent

Communicating your concerns about your aging parent's ability to manage alone or make important decisions isn't easy. Most people don't even know how to start.

Unfortunately, many people eventually plunge into the conversation in an abrupt way that takes the senior off-guard and leaves him or her defensive and resistant.

Is there a better way? Absolutely. Whether you're trying to broach a conversation with your elderly parent about needing some additional assistance, moving into assisted living or the need for someone to handle his or her finances, here are some ways to approach the process:

Try to build some support

If you have siblings, talk to them before you talk to your parent. If you can unify your ideas on the issue and agree on a set of goals, it may make it easier for your parent to accept the need for the changes.

Start from a position of concern

Don't express your desire to take over handling your parent's finances as a command. Instead, express your concerns that your parent is overwhelmed and having trouble keeping up. Make sure that you let your parent know that you are acting out of love, not any sense of judgment.

Look into the possible options

There are many ways that you may be able to assist your aging parent. A power of attorney can allow you to handle his or her financial affairs. Certain types of trusts can also be used to protect his or her assets from scam artists and other issues. In-home health aides can be an alternative to assisted living. An elder law attorney can help you determine what sort of options are available for your situation.

Focus on the end goals

Let your parent know that your goal isn't to make your parent dependent on you. You have no desire to take full control over your parent's life. Instead, focus on the idea that allowing you to step in on certain issues or moving into assisted living is a way of preserving your parent's independence for as long as possible.

Conversations about aging and the need for adjustments aren't easy, but they are necessary. A little planning, however, can make the process simpler for everyone involved.

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