The cliché when you start something is to say, “I’m not sure how to start.” In this case, you’re saying, “I don’t know where to start,” because I hear this from so many people when they talk about wanting to have a conversation with their family about an aging loved one. Many people are crippled by the fact of not knowing where to start because it can be awkward and uncomfortable.

I share with people, start with either what is most important to you or what is most urgent for you. Everyone’s needs and family are different and there isn’t one right place to start. What is most important is you start. Don’t wait for a crisis to come before you start the conversation.

Here a few tips to help start the conversation:

  • Do your best to have everyone involved in caring for your loved included in the conversation.
  • Help prepare your parents or family as to why you start the conversation. Let your family or parents know you want to talk before a crisis arises.
  • Carve out a window of time to start the conversation and know that you will need to have more discussion at another time.
  • Remember this is a marathon and not a sprint. Take your time and enjoy the conversation and being with your family.  It’s these moments that make it possible to enjoy the good days.

I hope these tips will help you start a conversation with your loved one and wish you well.

Steve Griffiths, Executive Director