Communicating with an Assertor About Their Personal Needs
Aging can be tough on assertors. They’re used to leading conversations, making decisions, and solving problems. Suddenly, they may not be in charge, other people might be making decisions for them, and they might feel as if they are the problem. Assertors like dealing with facts, benchmarks, and goals, and difficulties that may accompany old age can make them feel like they’re suddenly useless or purposeless. When you take the time to communicate well with an assertor, you can help them accept these changes that come with the aging process, and learn to enjoy their new stage in life.
Personal needs can be especially frustrating for people who are used to taking charge and arranging things for others. Assertors are used to being the help, not asking for it. When their can-do attitude collides with problems they can no longer solve, or if loved ones are prying into issues they want to remain in control of, they can grow angry and afraid. Communicating well with your assertor about personal issues can help you resolve those issues with them more quickly.
Discussing Personal Concerns with an Assertor
Personal concerns are very focused on the individual. One person’s challenges may be entirely distinct from another’s. However, most personal concerns revolving around aging are likely to fall into one of 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 Meet Their Personal Needs
Your assertor is unlikely to ask for help in dealing with their personal needs, but that doesn’t mean that you can just pretend there’s no problem. Personal needs affect health, finances, and overall quality of life. When you communicate in a way that your assertor can understand and respond to, you can help find ways to meet these needs and maintain quality of life as your loved one ages.