This blog is part of a year-long series aimed at addressing some of the most frequently asked questions we hear from family and adult children on the topics most concerning them regarding their aging parents or loved one. In 2012 Hebrew SeniorLife published the eBook "You & Your Aging Parent: A Family Approach to Lifelong Health, Wellness & Care," a compilation of answers from HSL geriatric experts in response to the many of the most frequently asked questions. We're reposting some of the most popular Q&A posts from our original eBook which was downloaded over 2,000 times. We're also adding new Q&As throughout the series that address topics not originally included in our eBook. Sign up to receive the blog series and download our original eBook at www.hslindependentliving.org.
Having conversations with your parents sooner rather than later about planning for their future is the best possible approach. This allows you to share thoughts, concerns, and wishes and make plans before you find yourselves in crisis mode. Parents are accustomed to being the primary decision makers, and may be initially reluctant to involve their children in decisions about health and care. Adult children should be sensitive to this change in family dynamics. Let your parents know you are here as a loyal partner to help them make their own decisions, not to usurp their responsibilities.
It may take time to gain their confidence when it comes to raising difficult issues. Shift the focus to one of sharing these challenges rather than fostering a feeling that your parents are now moving from independence to dependence.
Many parents express a clear and resounding preference to remain in their own homes. They may exact a promise from their children to “never put me in a nursing home.” Rather than making a promise that may be impossible to keep, use this statement as a springboard for a more productive conversation on what is realistic and most beneficial for your parents in the event they become physically or cognitive compromised in the future.
To download your copy of our “You and Your Aging Parent” ebook, visit our website, www.agingredefined.org.