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How to Discuss Skilled Nursing Care With Your Aging Parents

There may come a time when you have to discuss skilled nursing or long-term care with your aging parents. This may be a difficult conversation to start. The thought of our parents growing older and requiring help on a daily basis is difficult. Your parents may be facing the fact that they may need to move out of their home, experience a loss of independence, and need to rely on others for help.  Often times, our parents cannot or do not want to admit that they need the help. This article will give you some tips for starting a discussion about skilled nursing care with your aging parents.


How to start the conversation

Most of the time, the discomfort or fear of having a difficult discussion is the biggest challenge to getting started. Above all else, remember that you are trying to do what’s best for your parents, as they have always done for you.  Keeping the spirit of the conversation in the front of your mind will help you get through the encounter, after all, they are your parents. Beginning a difficult conversation can be made more difficult by not over formalizing it. In other words, do not treat this as an intervention. An important thing to remember is that this probably will not be a one-time talk. It may be a series of discussions spread out over time. That’s beneficial for both you and your parents, and may lead to a better outcome. It just has to start somewhere and sometime. Here a few tips to getting started.

  • Be loving and let your parents know how much they mean to you
  • Ask them a lot of questions about how they see themselves completing certain daily tasks as they get older
  • Be informal. This talk could be done over coffee or in the car on the way to an appointment.
  • Bring some examples to the forefront. For instance, perhaps they have had friends move in to a nursing facility. Knowing that they are not alone in this is a key component.


You will get resistance

Odds are in favor of you getting resistance. Nobody wants to admit that they need help to care for themselves. Your parents may argue or get angry with you for even bringing the topic up. That’s ok. Remember, that you have their best interest at heart. Here are a few tips to handle push back.

  • Don’t argue back, listen more than you speak
  • Don’t finalize anything, and leave the door open for further discussion
  • Be understanding even if you know they are wrong
  • Point out the positives of nursing or long-term care. (There are many)



The title of this article is ‘Starting a Discussion about Skilled Nursing Care with Your Aging Parents’.  The reason to just focus on starting the discussion is that there certainly will not be resolution to it right away. Don’t rush things. Allow there to be time for more talks, questions, and acceptance. Work to develop a timeline that outlines when things may happen such as tours or facilities. Having a discussion about nursing or long-term care with your parents is a necessary thing to do. It can be stressful, but in the long run, it will benefit everyone involved.