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A Care Manager’s View – How do I talk with my parents about the future?

I was reminded recently of a question clients, friends, and family will often ask; “How do I talk with my aging parents about where and how they want to live in the near future?”.

Frequently, this question will come from friends or acquaintances who learn that I work as a geriatric care manager. Future living options could include a vast range of choices from in-home care to a skilled nursing facility.

My most recent experience with this occurred with a new acquaintance. She was able to find a moment to speak with me privately and immediately stated “My dad has dementia, he and my mom live out of state, and I have no idea how to talk with him about planning for the future. He is very stoic and doesn’t talk about his diagnosis. What do I do?”

My greatest advice in these situations is for the adult child to approach their parent with dignity and discuss the need to make a plan BEFORE an emergency forces a plan.

The reason I suggest this is because often we, as adult children, will delay bringing up the inevitable because we have difficulty navigating that parent-child relationship with our aging parent(s). I firmly believe giving our parents the choice, while they can still make a decision, is our number one priority. However, working with our parents through this process can be difficult at times.

The best method I have found for initiating this conversation is to find a time that works best for our parents to talk face to face. Perhaps enjoying their favorite coffee or dessert together. Then, gently begin a discussion regarding where they would like to live in the future. Sometimes, hiring an advocate, such as myself or one of my colleagues, helps with this discussion. We are a neutral party. We can relay our experiences where we have learned that a client has had an emergent medical event which forced them to make a rushed decision into care. Often, these decisions end up being more difficult than if our loved one had been given the opportunity to research their options, think about their likes and dislikes, and make an informed decision and plan BEFORE an emergency forces one.

I hope this bit of insight proves helpful in whatever stage of care you may be approaching with your loved one(s).

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“AgeWise has the gift of striking just the correct and proper balance between caring, being your client's advocate, and yet effecting change in a professional manner for the children who live at a distance.“
AgeWise
2015-08-30T22:40:53+00:00
“AgeWise has the gift of striking just the correct and proper balance between caring, being your client's advocate, and yet effecting change in a professional manner for the children who live at a distance.“
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2015-08-30T22:40:16+00:00
“AgeWise was a godsend. They are very knowledgeable and skilled in working with people with mental health issues. She did a super job holding my family member's and my hand throughout the process. She was very sensitive to managing the cost of her services and at the same time delivered excellent value. AgeWise exceeded my expectations.”
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2015-08-30T22:43:12+00:00
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2015-08-30T22:44:59+00:00
“Again, I am so impressed with the services you are offering and the way you impact lives. You have a calming, caring, confident, and very real spirit that makes the difficult conversations easier. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
“I’ve worked closely with the AgeWise team in my role as private duty care manager/Apartment nurse at a retirement community. Because of the competent and compassionate service they provide, I highly recommend them to you and would personally use them if my family member needed care management.”
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2015-08-30T22:42:39+00:00
“I’ve worked closely with the AgeWise team in my role as private duty care manager/Apartment nurse at a retirement community. Because of the competent and compassionate service they provide, I highly recommend them to you and would personally use them if my family member needed care management.”
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“AgeWise staff have been a delight to work with for a number of years. They have been integral team members in caring for four senior adults in my family. They have dealt with difficult situations with intelligence and sensitivity. We know we can count on them to assess needs ranging from Alzheimer's care to end of life issues and help provide compassionate solutions. AgeWise staff have gone above and beyond to assist my family.”
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2015-08-30T22:42:03+00:00
“AgeWise staff have been a delight to work with for a number of years. They have been integral team members in caring for four senior adults in my family. They have dealt with difficult situations with intelligence and sensitivity. We know we can count on them to assess needs ranging from Alzheimer's care to end of life issues and help provide compassionate solutions. AgeWise staff have gone above and beyond to assist my family.”
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