I have made several phone calls from hospitals to inform adult children that their parent will need supervision and additional care. These conversations are not only held in hopsitals, but also take place in the community from their parent's physician. Over the years, I have rarely met a child or family who actively prepared and took the time to get their ducks in a row. We all know that our parents will get older, and with the advancement in medication and medical treatment, we all have a really good possibility of living longer. However, little is done to get ready for this. We set up 529 plans for our children's education, we make a list of items to take on a vacation, but we don't take the time to get ready for the inevitable. There are countless agencies, services, and resources for families once a relative has begun to receive or need care, but few are available to help families when everyone is healthy.
Asking a few questions and opening up a dialogue among family members can help many heartaches and financial blunders.
You make a very good point. Why don't adult children talk about these issues with parents? Sometimes the parent doesn't want to discuss personal issues; sometimes the adult child is uncomfortable with these issues.
My father was very open about his issues with us. He told me that his father refused to discuss anything so he (my Dad) was determined to be different. But even so, we both had this fantasy that Dad would die peacefully in his sleep any day after his 80th birthday.
Reality was that he lived for several more years. There were many unexpected turns regarding his health. We coped as best we could given that he refused to allow strangers to handle his affairs. From my experience, much of the Depression era generation was secretive like that.
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