September 13, 2023 by Dean Bellefeuille

A mom and daughter stand in the kitchen having tough conversations to strengthen family relationships.

It’s easy to let other relationships take a back seat when you’re committed to caring for a senior loved one. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day, and you can only spread yourself so thin. This can lead to additional stress, hurt feelings, and misunderstandings.

Communication is key to getting over this hurdle. It means having conversations that may be uncomfortable but that allow the opportunity to air grievances, share feelings, and ultimately reinforce the love you have for each other.

Initiating Difficult Conversations to Strengthen Family Relationships

Remember that a formal meeting isn’t always needed for the conversation to be effective. You could have the talk over a cup a coffee. It should not, however, be a triggered response to a stress-inducing incident. Plan to talk about an issue before the stress has a chance to build up to an explosive level (or after you’ve had the chance to calm down).

Take this example of how to start an important conversation to strengthen your family relationship: Your teenage daughter is feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable bringing friends over because of the dementia-related behaviors of your elderly mother. Start with this quick assessment to gauge the answers for yourself and your daughter:

  • What goals do we want to accomplish from this conversation?
  • What are each of us thinking and feeling?
  • What do we have to give and receive?
  • What do we need from each other?
  • What do we want each other to know?

Make sure to consider how the person you care for feels as well. In particular, before the cognitive decline, determine what your mom would want for you and your daughter.

From there, open yourself up to be vulnerable, authentic, and honest. Listen to each other’s perspective respectfully, offer empathy and understanding, and work together to come up with a viable solution.

Are Some Things Better Left Unsaid?

It’s not uncommon to feel like it’s easier to sweep things under the rug than to have courageous conversations to strengthen family relationships. And certainly, situations may arise that are best resolved through another means, such as by talking with a professional counselor to unravel your thoughts and feelings before approaching someone else with them. As a general rule of thumb, however, nothing beats open, honest communication to allow you and those you care about to better understand each other.

Let an At Home Independent Living caregiver help you carve out time for the conversations you need with other family members by providing skilled, professional in-home care services for the older adult you love. Contact us online at (315) 579-HOME (4663) to learn more about our home care in Apulia Station, Baldwinsville, Brewerton, and the surrounding areas.