times family members hesitate to talk with their aging parents about common
topics of concern such as changes to health, transportation, home care, legal and
financial issues as well as retirement housing.
professionals suggest it is much better to have these parent conversations sooner rather than later. It is often too late
to make informed decisions or be sensitive to everyone’s point of view once a
personal or medical crisis occurs. Decisions that could have been made in
advance end up being made in a rush; resulting in regret, remorse and
conversations are not always easy. Adult children may avoid difficult
communications regarding health concerns because they may not want to face the
fact their parents are getting older. They may also feel that asking too many “prying”
questions could jeopardize good relationships with parents and siblings. On the
other hand, they may also wish to avoid the additional responsibilities that are
sure to surface as parent care issues are exposed.
communications about a moving, downsizing, daily activities, long term care, advanced directives and other end of life issues are very important.
Individuals who prepare and communicate their plans and wishes in advance gain
a sense of comfort that their wishes will be honored. They are able to
determine their own surrogate decision-makers and gain confidence that family
members will act in a timely manner and in accordance with their wishes.
of the family will benefit from increased clarity and decreased conflict with
siblings. They gain a sense of comfort knowing they are respecting their
parents’ decisions and values.