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Thanksgiving is just one day away, and many families will be together. Adult children will spend some concentrated time with parents, and notice changes in the stamina, stability or perhaps even cognition or memory in their parents from last year. This is uncharted territory for most of us. We can read lots of books about parenting and talk to our friends who are in the same boat, but how do we learn how to be good, responsible and respectful adult children to our parents as they get old? We don’t have to look very far to see the consequences of ignoring aging and its changes; the elderly man who hit the gas instead of the brake and ran over a child, the woman who fell in her shower and was barely alive when she was found 30 hours later, and the house fire started by the gentleman who forgot food cooking on the stove. These are just a few of the scariest scenarios, but daily there are smaller outcomes that don’t make the headlines and dramatically affect the lives and hearts of seniors and their families.
So, what to do to avoid the unnecessary pain of having to step in and take a parent’s keys away, or try to persuade Mom to sell the house and move to assisted living? Of course there is no getting around the inevitable changes that come with aging, but the game changes when seniors face the transitions with a plan that is born of heartfelt discussion about desires and realities ahead. Trust me, it is easier ask a parent if the two of you can realistically look to the years ahead so that you can support them in the manner they desire than to look that same parent in the eye and ask them to hand over the car keys. While none of us can accurately predict the future, it is not rocket science to know that if people live long enough they will need help and we all have strong ideas about how that should go. Don’t let another holiday come and go without bravely telling your parent(s) that you will be their biggest advocate for whatever the future holds, if only they will tell you what they want.
And know that if you need help finding a way to brooch the subject, preparing some talking points, or planning for a complication in the conversation, AgeWise is here to help! Call us at 913-213-8799 or email at email@example.com.