Communicating with an Assertor About Financial Concerns
Assertors are used to leading conversations and making decisions for themselves and others. They enjoy facts, summaries, and difficult questions. They get impatient when people cushion bad news, spend a lot of time exchanging pleasantries, or try to use feelings as a basis for decision-making. Aging assertors are often in a difficult position, as they might find themselves more frequently needing to follow rather than lead. They’re the subject of decisions, not the decider. This perceived lack of agency can be a source of tension when they’re faced with difficult conversations. However, when you actively include the assertor in the decision-making process, they’ll respond by meeting goals and ensuring that the chosen course of action is a successful one.
Financial issues can be a minefield when you’re dealing with an assertor. Many assertors pride themselves on their financial acumen and planning abilities. Any deterioration in those abilities seems like a lack of self. Sometimes, the aging process can make it harder to make good financial decisions. An aging assertor may not have the time or energy to keep up with financial news like she used to. He may be vulnerable to scams designed to target the fears and hopes of an aging person. Many of these problems are compounded if the assertor also suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. As a caregiver, you must balance the need for independence with the need for protection.
Communicating with an Assertor about Financial Issues
Finances are complicated, especially where they intersect with health needs, retirement planning, and aging. However, many of the financial issues that you and your loved ones find most contentious are likely to fall under the following categories.
General Tips for Communicating with an Assertor
- Be factual and accurate, don’t exaggerate.
- Be straightforward and ask challenging questions, don’t tiptoe.
- Use simple language that educates them on their condition.
- Have structured conversations with tasks/goals for managing conditions and maintaining health.
- Use formulas. List behaviors and results.
- Have conversations in a timely fashion. Don’t rush.
- Stand your ground. Be strong and confident.
- Use non-debatable ‘I’ messages rather than judgmental ‘You’ messages.
- Remember that you don’t have to agree.
- Keep them active in the decision-making. Give them guides that they can follow and manage on their own.
Better Communication Helps Assertors Avoid Financial Struggles
It can be difficult to discuss finances with someone who’s used to being in control and making major decisions. You have an idea of where the problems are, you know what assets are available, but you may not have a clear idea of what solutions will work for your assertor. Remaining calm, presenting information, and, when necessary, sticking to your position in the face of pressure will help you state your case and give your assertor time to consider their options for a pleasant, balanced, and financially secure retirement.