Navigating tough conversations with older loved ones - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Navigating tough conversations with older loved ones

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A lot of you are probably getting ready for holiday celebrations, and that may bring up a tough conversation.  If it's one of the only times of the year you see your older loved ones, this is an opportunity where you can sit down with them and address the need for some extra care. 

Many people do not enjoy the independence talk, but experts say there are ways to make it easier. 

Former Good Morning America anchor, Joan Lunden, is now a health and wellness advocate for senior citizens with the organization, A Place for Mom.  Lunden says, timing is everything.  She recommends finding a quiet spot where there are no distractions or other obligations waiting. 

Lunden also explains how tone is crucial because this conversation can easily go south.  "Be prepared for it, wait for it, wait for it.  They're going to say -- What do you think I'm old?  What do you think I'm going to kick the bucket? Here's the answer -- No actually I don't.  That's the whole point.  That's why I want to talk to you.  Because I know that you have a lot of years, and I want to help you make them the best that they can be," says Lunden. 

From there, she says it's very important to listen and remind your loved one that you are in their corner. 

Navigating the next steps can be tricky and can be forgotten if a small step or action plan isn't made. "Do a take away," says Lunden.  "The take away can be as simple as you know what, let's start small.  Why don't you just make a list of every doctor you go to and all the prescriptions you take... Start small, just let them know you're their advocate."

The organization Lunden works with, A Place for Mom, has resources like checklists and documents on their website that can be helpful in starting and continuing the conversation.  You can also share tips that have worked for your family on our 27 News Facebook. 

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