Hi there, this is Start Talking with Chemane Rene', Start Talking is part of our Plan Your Story Interview Series. I had the pleasure of interviewing Nicole Richardson last month. Nicole is a licensed marriage and family therapist from Austin, Texas.
One of the things Nicole addressed during our interview is How to Start the Conversation, all within the context of caregiving or planning to care for an aging loved one. Enjoy part 3 of our interview series tips below!
Nicole M. Richardson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist located in Austin, Texas.
Tip 1 - Spend Time: Spend some time with yourself and think about what you are willing and able to do, and what you absolutely can't do. And that includes, if you have a partner, sitting down and talking with your partner about what that is going to mean for the family because this will impact the family as well.
Tip 2 - Be Clear: Being really, really clear about what your limits are before you bring another person into the conversation can be a great place for you to set yourself up for success when that conversation happens.
Tip 3 - It’s not a "One and Done" conversation: It's unlikely that all of the problems are going to get solved in one conversation. It's far more likely that this is going to be a series of conversations that happen with your parent and with your siblings.
Tip 4 - Know Your Parents: Really knowing your parents comes into play. For example, is your father powerful, very independent and very strong minded? He would not do well if all of his children approached him. For him, a one-on-one would be the best approach so he could "save face" and feel like a burden, or a child, or like he was being taken care of. His wife on the other hand, is far more gentle and go with the flow, so even if all of her children came to her, she's really more likely to just go with it.
Tip 5 -RICH Conversations (Respect, Integrity, Compassion, Honor):
When we're talking to our elders it's really important to keep in mind they were the ones that were changing our diapers and disciplining us and taking care of us and a lot of them have a really, really, really hard time with feeling like they are a burden to us. Being considerate and patient is important when you're having this conversation.
You can listen to the full interview here.
You can reach Nicole at Nicole Richardson Counseling at www.nicolemrichardson.com.