Yes - caring for aging parents can be difficult. BUT – there are a few things you can do to help you and them decide what is best for them.
So how does one do this?
Have “the talk” with your parents while they are still active and healthy
Do a think/look/see at alternative living arrangements
Put all your decisions in writing
Remember when your parents had “the talk” with you about sex? This version of “the talk” is about aging – their aging and yours.
When you have this talk is up to you. A good time for this talk, just like for the sex talk, is long before you actually need to deal with the reality of it.
What is the substance this talk? A frank discussion of issues such as
style of life
end of life decisions
These may not seem like “pleasant” topics for a family chat – but the earlier you have this chat the more involved your parents can be in the decisions.
Waiting until a decision is necessitated by events is not the best time to have this discussion – if, in fact, a discussion can be had at that moment.
Most of these issues revolve around loss of independence – a difficult option for most – but especially for older persons. Cars, housing arrangements, life style and money give one a sense of independence. As does making ones own decisions about changing or re-arranging these circumstances.
Be sure to let your parents tell you what they think and want or how any decisions should be made.
You can all visit senior housing communities at any time and study all the options available; including living near or with you. There are so many newer housing communities that try to meet the many requirements for their aging populations.
Put everything in writing
Wills, living wills, estate matters; end of life decisions and housing/finance decisions can be put in writing. They can also be changed. The legalities may vary depending on where you live or where your parents now live. Reducing your family discussions to a written document may help everyone when the emotional time comes to take action on any of the decisions.
Aging is often difficult to deal with – but getting older sure bets the alternative. And we now have families who have both aging parents and still-at-home children.
This younger generation is getting first hand experience with the “aging parent” issue they see their own parents dealing with the grandparents.
And for many – this may be a good time to even discuss about when those kids will have “the talk” with their parents.
As with many of life’s ongoing issues, good communication goes a long way to alleviate major problems.
After my mother died, my son and I started our "talks" about my future and what I want v. what he thinks – those talks are sort of ongoing…
Do you have a plan? do your kids have a plan? Do you talk about this?