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  • Are you a BULLDOZER, an ENGAGER, or a RETREATER?

    Aaron D. Murphy

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    Are you a retreater, a bulldozer, or an engager? Knowing your communication style and maybe adjusting it could be the key to aging in place success for you and your loved ones. Hi, I'm Aaron Murphy with Forever Home. This video blog is about, I just listened to a really great interview online from David Soli. He was interviewing live home co-founder Stephen Bartlem about aging in place and in-home care. Mr. Bartlem really made some excellent points and offered some great insight and tips on how to approach the conversation with a parent about beginning a transition toward needing some help at home to maintain their independence. He spoke about the importance, and here it comes again, of planning ahead. He mentioned ideas like pacing the conversation over an extended period of time, ahead of time. You need to make sure you've taken the time before an acute occurrence like a fall or an illness comes to your folks. We agree on that wholeheartedly. As with any relationship, being a great listener and an active listener and bringing a caring approach is critical. You must be sure that you spend enough time gently engaging with your parents or loved one in a conversation to get to the root of their wants, needs, dreams, fears for the future. You have to be sure you have a strong enough understanding of their side and their opinions to make sure you're in alignment with their goals and how we're gonna address them as we coordinate our own thoughts and ideas. You have to be able to maintain patience, courtesy, and respect for your folks or loved one so that over time you can become that trusted advisor who's gained the trust and rapport when it comes time to help them with understanding changes that are occurring or going to occur. An open conversation can and should lead to some level of acceptance. If you don't do this, the likely result with that parent or loved one is a natural human instinct to push back. That can result in a checkmate with the irrational no type reaction. You'll be stuck in an impasse, logged in a quagmire that can ruin your relationships and potentially leave you with a lifetime of regrets when they're gone. None of us want that. So let's use Mr. Bartlem’s vocabulary to talk about what kind of a communicator are you when it comes to your folks or aging. The retreator. You avoid conflict, and therefore you either A, can't seem to bring up the conversation at all, or B, When there's any sign of pushback or resistance, you immediately back off and drop it until next time. But eventually next time is too late. Number two is the bulldozer. You don't have time for this. You need decisions and you need them now. You're impatient, which is a negative, but you're a decision maker, which maybe that worked great in other parts of your life and it's actually a positive asset. But not in this situation, and not in the mentality of you're where the highway. That's a major backfire waiting to happen in this communication topic. Human nature and physiology, psychology, it'll take over. You're gonna get the checkmate no, the knee jerk reaction response. You're not gonna like that, and neither is your loved one, especially when it comes to the relationship you'd like to keep and nurture long-term while we address a challenging topic. Number three is the Engager. This is the one we're looking for. This is the winning approach. The type of communicator you should work toward becoming when it comes to addressing the volatile and delicate topic of conversation of aging. It takes respect, patience, courtesy, gentle delivery, and an allowance, including the time allowance, to let that happen and progress naturally. It's not a one and done discussion. We need your parent to gain the trust, or your loved one, that you have their best interest in mind. They're going to be skeptical in the beginning. So you have to block out long periods of time to get through this. Allow them to feel comfortable expressing their fears and concerns. Listen actively. Actually hear them when they share their thoughts and opinions. Now, the end result is a destination where you have loved one willing to listen to you as well and hear what you have to say. What your thoughts, hopes, and dreams are and your own feelings about the situation. That's a destination you're going to strive for, where your parent can accept a future that might look different than the present in regards to their own life, a change in their independence, and maybe a change in some freedoms and housing situation or housing design. This is about creating a partnership with your loved one. Partnering is empowering for both parties. That's the win-win discussion we're looking for and you can get there if it's done right. In-home care is a valuable part of successful aging in place long-term for all parties involved. Use the adult child for your own peace of mind and your folks for their independence. Designing your home to make this successful both for the caretaker and for the aging adult also win-win. Let's engage in planning Success. Mr. Bartlem goes on in his own interview to give top 10 tips for engaging, but there's your short summary. And at the end of the day, what I want you to do is try going to your folks with the feel felt found sentence structure. I know how you feel. I felt the same way before when. And I found that. That's sales 101 talk and that's the quickest way that we know and we train business owners in the aging in place space to gain trust and rapport with anyone in a tough discussion that does require some meeting in the middle to get what you need out of a conversation. But at the end of the day, what you're trying to get is what's best for your loved one or your parents. So, Aaron Murphy, If you liked the video, click like on YouTube or wherever you saw this on the social media platform. Come over to, subscribe to our newsletter so you can get more tips and tricks along the way. In the meantime, let's design homes and conversations that are enabling and empowering for our loved ones. See you soon.

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