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How to Deliver Bad News to Your Senior Parent

Family caregivers face several challenges, and having to give bad news to their parents may be one of them. When your aging parent loses a family member or close friend, you may have to deliver this information to him or her. You may face difficulty with determining the best way to tell your parent the bad news. If your parent has been diagnosed with a long-term health condition, you may have to hire a professional caregiver in addition to delivering the news to him or her.

If you are the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality at-home care, Bridgewater Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.

While you may not be able to change the situation, you can make sure your parent finds out the truth in the best way possible by using these strategies.

Consider Your Parent’s Reaction

Your aging parent may not necessarily react badly to unpleasant news. For example, some parents with practical personalities may have a lot of questions and seek solutions immediately. Alternatively, an emotional parent may have a strong, tearful response to a bad situation. Before you give the news, consider your loved one’s reaction and prepare accordingly.

Practice Your Speech

Sit down, and write out what you will say to your loved one. Then, practice it in front of a mirror, or ask a friend to give you a critique. Saying the bad news several times to yourself might ease your nerves so you can give a smoother delivery. Conveying the news with confidence can make your parent feel like you are in control even if you feel like you are not.

Choose the Right Environment

Bad news should never be given to anyone in a public space where a display of emotions might be embarrassing. It is also important to make sure your loved one is comfortable when you deliver the news. Talk to your loved one when he or she is fed and well-rested. The ideal place to break the news would be in a personal home setting. If this is not possible, try to find a private place to talk such as the family room at the hospital.

State the News Clearly

Try not to use confusing language that could make it harder for a senior with dementia to understand what is going on. For example, saying a loved one has died is more effective than saying his or her partner will not be coming home. While your intent is to try to soften the blow, this approach might not work if your senior parent has cognitive disabilities.

For some seniors in Bridgewater, dementia care is essential. Regular mental stimulation helps slow the progression of the disease, supervision reduces the risk of dangerous behaviors, and compassionate companionship is a wonderful solution for alleviating the symptoms of dementia.

Follow Through

If you are in the position of relaying bad news, this also means you are in the right place to provide a sense of comfort. Let your loved one react however he or she feels, and offer non-judgmental support. Whether your parent needs a shoulder to cry on or wants to brainstorm solutions to the problem, let him or her take the lead as you provide a helping hand.

Before breaking the bad news, you should relax and de-stress first. By putting your own mind at ease, you can deliver unpleasant news to your aging parent effectively and affectionately. For this reason, you should consider taking a break from your caregiving duties and hiring a professional respite caregiver. Whether your elderly loved one needs part-time assistance with basic household chores or you need a break from your caregiving duties, the Bridgewater respite care experts at Home Care Assistance are here to help. All of our respite care services are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts. To learn about our respite care plans, call us at 908.450.9400 today.