Rearview shot of a young woman assisting her senior father walk at the park

Parents and caregivers of pre-teens often dread when the time arrives to have “The Talk.” Body hair, sex, new and unpleasant smells, love interest; yes, THAT talk. Everyone who is actively involved in this talk is uncomfortable and trying to get through the awkwardness as quickly as possible, while still giving and receiving information. 

In preparing for this milestone conversation, parents employ a variety of resources to open a healthy and productive conversation. What do they wish they were told, could the timing or approach be different, what went well, and what could be better? Whatever the method or means, being aware of when the time is right and then doing something about it, is the most crucial step in the whole coming-of-age discussion.  

A Second Version of “The Talk”

Once the successful navigation of the adolescent talk is complete, many believe they are in the clear, no more uncomfortableness, awkward silence, and embarrassing eye contact, it is all done and now everyone can move forward with life. 

Nope! You have an aging loved one, and now a new and different talk is needed, one with no prior experience to pull from or compare to. This time “The Talk” in question is with our aging loved ones and now the topics range from their failing health, poor driving, and their losing their independence. 

How to Approach the Topic of Aging With a Loved One

Personally speaking, I believe the talk with my teenager about using deodorant and body hair preferences is a bit easier than tackling the one with my great uncle who can no longer see well enough to continue driving. 

Independent, proud, and private are ways to describe our aging loved ones, and this “Talk” could very well put them on the defensive depending on your relationship and approach. Feelings of paranoia and grief could come out of this talk. This time in their life is also a milestone, but not an exciting one like graduating from high school or buying your first car, frankly, it is the exact opposite.  

Trying to decide when the time is right adds another element to navigate which makes it even more complex. For example, Dad got lost driving to his favorite hardware store for the second time in less than three weeks, and this time he was found over two hours away. We must discuss the elephant in the room and produce a plan of action that respects his independence and autonomy while supporting his health and safety in the long term.  

Tips for Talking About Care Management

  • Start early and have open discussions about the “what ifs” before a significant incident occurs.  
  • Be gentle in your approach but direct. Avoid being abrasive or accusatory.  
  • Be intentional in your timing.  
  • Involve other loved ones as proper.  
  • Seek input and feedback from experts who know the senior.  
  • Give examples and factual statements that cannot be disputed.  
  • Give actual solutions and options to your observations, not threats and directives.  
  • Listen to understand as they talk. This talk will be difficult. Have empathy as they express their emotions.  

Hammerle is Here to Help with Care Management

Every phase of life has its version of “The Talk,” and the one made to our older members prompts life changes for the whole family, making it complex but necessary.  

If you need help with navigating care management for your loved one, schedule a consultation with the experienced attorneys and staff at Hammerle Finley Law Firm.

Courtney Carey is a Texas Certified Guardian and a Care Manager, with experience in Texas Medicaid waiver programs for intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health, and geriatrics. Contact Hammerle Finley Law Firm to schedule a consultation: 

The foregoing does not constitute legal advice.