Call Now to Speak with a Care Manager Speak with a Care Manager Now: (760) 345-0001

Delivering Bad News to Elderly Parents

By Nikhil Mehta, 9:00 am on

No one wants to deliver bad news, and it is especially difficult when you have to broach a painful topic with your elderly parents. Naturally, you don’t want to see your elderly loved one feeling hurt, and health conditions such as dementia can increase the difficulty of sharing bad news. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality elder care. Palm Desert families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.

Whether you have a new health diagnosis to discuss or must inform your parent about a recent loss, use these tips to ease the strain of having to tell him or her bad news.

Be Prepared

Your comfort with the news can make a big difference in how your parent will respond to it. If you are having trouble managing your emotions, spend some time accepting the news. Write down what you are going to say and a few questions you think your parent might ask. Practice telling the news to a friend, and ask for feedback so you are confident about your approach.

Use Sympathetic Language

The bad news may be about something you denied in the past, such as your loved one having Alzheimer’s, which may have been affirmed by a medical diagnosis. In such a situation, choose your language carefully. Using “I” statements, such as “I feel the need to talk about something difficult” lets your loved one know you are on his or her side.

Ask Questions

It is sometimes hard to know how a loved one is responding, and you may find yourself repeating bad news to someone who has memory loss. For example, you may find your loved one suddenly believes his or her spouse is still alive. You are then faced with the choice of reliving the painful experience of explaining that his or her spouse passed away years ago. You might want to ask your loved one how he or she feels about the situation. This allows you to assess his or her understanding of the news and adjust your approach as needed.

Listen to Their Concerns

For many adult children, it is natural to think about all the practical things that must be done in the wake of bad news. For instance, you may want to focus on talking about the funeral plans or the financial matters regarding a health problem. In contrast, your loved one may be thinking about how the bad news will affect the family. Your loved one may also have concerns that may seem impractical to you but will help him or her grieve. Spend time listening to your parent , and show you care by supporting his or her thoughts and feelings. Revisit the topic as needed over the next several weeks, and remind yourself that your loved one is resilient. Simply having your support can make a big difference in the ability to recover from difficult news.

Breaking bad news to an elderly parent can become even more challenging if he or she is living with Alzheimer’s. Aging adults with Alzheimer’s disease can benefit from receiving professional Alzheimer’s care. Palm Desert seniors need regular mental stimulation when managing memory-related conditions, and a reliable in-home caregiver who has extensive training in Alzheimer’s care can be a great asset.

Get in touch with Home Care Assistance to find out how a Palm Desert, CA, caregiver can help your aging loved one live a longer, healthier, and happier life. Our caregivers are available 24/7, all of our senior care services come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and we never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts. Call (760) 345-0001 to speak with a Care Manager and learn about our flexible care plans.