How to Break Bad News to Aging Loved Ones

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Breaking Bad News to Senior Loved Ones

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Family members are often reluctant to share bad news with their senior loved ones. Caregivers may find they have to talk to their loved ones about financial difficulties, the discovery of a serious medical illness, or the death of a friend or family member.

Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust in Dayton, OH, elderly care experts to help their senior loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life.

If you are a caregiver who has to break bad news to your loved one, here are a few ways to approach the subject with compassion and honesty. 

Prepare in Advance

Before relaying the news to your loved one, prepare yourself. Know all the facts surrounding the topic. Perhaps write down what you plan to say and review it with other family members. Your loved one may already sense something is wrong but may be reluctant to ask questions for fear of causing you more discomfort. Odds are, when you are ready to have the conversation, your loved one will be ready to listen. 

Communicate Effectively but Sympathetically

Use clear communication when sharing the news with your loved one. However, be sensitive to how he or she might respond to what you have to say. Therapists suggest using “I” phrases to express empathy and sincerity. “I need to share some bad news with you” or “I feel there is something we need to talk about” are just two of the many ways to initiate the conversation. 

Once you have had the talk, allow your loved one time to absorb the news. He or she might not initially respond by becoming angry, sad, or disbelieving. Monitor your loved one’s reaction, ensure he or she is handling the shock well, and provide more information about the subject if he or she is ready and willing to hear more. 

Pick the Right Time of Day

Talk to your loved one at a time when he or she is cognitively aware or having a good day. Perhaps your loved one is more clearheaded in the morning as opposed to in the evenings. A cognitively impaired senior may comprehend the original conversation. However, due to the effects of Alzheimer’s or another cognitive disease, the content of your conversation may become hidden or permanently irretrievable. In case of serious illness or death, do not be surprised if your loved one brings up the individual’s name with no recollection of what occurred. 

Every senior living with Alzheimer’s deserves high-quality Alzheimer’s home care. Dayton, OH, families can rely on the caregivers at Home Care Assistance to keep their loved ones safe while managing the symptoms of the disease. Using our Cognitive Therapeutics Method, our caregivers help seniors regain a sense of pride and accomplishment while slowing the rate of cognitive decline.

Sometimes, asking a leading question about the person may help your loved one remember the conversation. You might ask your loved one why he or she has not seen the individual. Whether your loved one remembers the news or not, be reassuring and supportive. 

Offer Support

There are various ways to show your loved one support during this time. Take a cue from how he or she responds to the news. In the event a family member dies, your loved one might be concerned about the emotional or social loss. Offer reassurance. Reminiscing about the individual may provide comfort. 

Certain aspects of caregiving, such as breaking bad news or completing daily tasks when you are unwell, can be difficult for a family caregiver. Some seniors need occasional assistance at home, and oftentimes the family members who take care of them need time away to run errands, take a nap, go to work, or take a vacation. Dayton, OH, respite care experts from Home Care Assistance are available on an as-needed basis, giving your family peace of mind that your loved one will remain safe and comfortable while you relax or focus on other important responsibilities. Call 937-353-7997 to speak with a Care Manager who can create a customized senior care plan for your loved one.