In the fall of 2012, Hebrew SeniorLife gathered together geriatric thought-leaders, researchers and physicians for our inaugural "You and Your Aging Parents" program, an important discussion about the steps one should take to help aging parents as they make decisions regarding health and well-being. Overwhelmingly positive response indicates the need for this information and Hebrew SeniorLife continues to offer this program. Check our events listing for upcoming events.
In addition, we published expert advice from the first program in an ebook, “You and Your Aging Parents,” which Hebrew SeniorLife is offering as a free downloadable pdf. The discussion also inspired our “You and Your Aging Parents” blog series, a series that includes this blog post and covers the various issues and concerns you may encounter as you and your parent/s continue on the journey of aging.
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.