Hebrew SeniorLife spoke with journalist and author Jane Gross on Tuesday, September 25 about her involvement in the upcoming College of Retirement Living event “You & Your Aging Parents: A Lifelong Approach to Health, Wellness & Care” and her own experiences with caring for her aging mother which she writes about in her book “The Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents and Ourselves”. She shared her thoughts with us on this topic below:
“Caring for an aging parent is a daunting task. Speaking with your parent about their needs and desires as they age is a critical step in ensuring you are prepared to make informed decisions with them and for them, if necessary. However, if that conversation does not happen, it is still important for the adult child to approach decisions affecting their aging parents methodically and with a clear head. The natural reaction is to go into crisis mode and panic sets in as the list of decisions grows. In this panicked state, every issue becomes an emergency, and hasty decisions are more likely to turn into bad decisions. By taking a step back and allowing yourself the time to think through each decision, the adult child will be better prepared to make the right choices and consider the opinions of their loved ones.
“There are many things I wish I knew when entering this process with my own mother that I hope people will begin to learn at this College of Retirement Living event. I was surprised at every turn when faced with issues from Medicare coverage to housing options and costs. It often feels like everything is in a separate silo – financial, legal, medical – and tapping the expertise of that many people can be exhausting and difficult when you are trying to keep your own life on track. I was pleased to learn that a geriatric care manager is one of the panelists for the first session. A geriatric care manager is trained in fitting all the pieces of this puzzle together and is able to provide a much-needed outside opinion during the decision making process.
“The process can be exhausting, but by listening and reaching out to the right resources, the answers will begin to come more easily. The important thing to remember is to take the time now to spend with your parent, to listen to them and hear their stories, wishes and values, but you can’t be in crisis mode for that to happen.”
Jane Gross will be featured in the second session of “You & Your Aging Parents: A Family Approach to Lifelong, Health, Wellness & Care,” which will be held on Sunday, October 21, from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Orchard Cove, a Hebrew SeniorLife retirement community, located at One Del Pond Drive in Canton. Tickets for both sessions on October 14 and October 21 can be purchased through the following link, and anyone who purchases a ticket can bring a family member or loved one at no additional charge to both sessions. Purchase tickets here.