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70-40 Rule®: Communication Assessment Results

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As a result of your answers to the communication assessment tool questions, it appears that you are having a difficult time talking with your loved one. Often there are issues that everyone knows are out there.

Consider what your child might want to know, and if you have the opportunity to raise the issue, do it. A child may find it difficult to talk about a will. It's relatively straightforward, though, for you to mention to your child that you have one and it's all in order. If the topic is a difficult one, it is often helpful to "set the stage" by prefacing a conversation with "I want to talk to you about something…"

If you are having trouble hearing, or if it seems like people around you are not speaking clearly, get a hearing test and don't feel embarrassed if you need a hearing aid. Some hearing loss is a normal part of aging, and can be very effectively dealt with. The same applies to other things: if you forget important things that you wanted to talk about with someone (whether a family member or your physician), get into the habit of keeping lists or notes to remind you.

Pick your battles. In some circumstances it may be easier to walk away or go along with something. You can't fight every battle or you'll exhaust yourself and alienate those around you. Save the assertive behavior for the situations where it is most important; that will also make it more effective.

Your child may come to you with what seems to be an accusation—perhaps it seems like your child is saying that you're not safe to drive any more. Think about how to defend against this without defensiveness. Conflict and anger rarely change minds, but frank and constructive discussions can. Offer to take a driving test or a defensive driving course to demonstrate your competence. If a child is suggesting taking away your car keys, consider offering a compromise
(you won't drive at night; you'll reduce your driving). Looking for places where you are comfortable meeting someone halfway will increase your chances of getting your own way on the issues most important to you.

Remember that many of the issues of aging can be solved by providing your parent with the support needed to continue to remain independent. Resources such as Home Instead Senior Care, Area Agencies on Aging and local senior centers can help provide those solutions. Look to the 70-40 Rule® section of this Web site to locate other organizations that might help your particular situation.

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