Hi friends…as many of you know, Lynn Ross is Caring Companions of Atlanta’s Geriatric Care Coordinator and knows more about senior issues in her pinky than I do in my entire being. The BLOG entry below is courtesy of Lynn…I learn every time I talk to her! Adam
I recently found an interesting article on my favorite website for family caregivers, Daily Caring. As Adam stated in an earlier post, they have tons of great resources and materials dealing with all aspects of caregiving. If you haven’t already signed up for their daily information, I encourage you to take the time and check your inbox often.
Usually, I agree with their perspective, but I was troubled by the beginning step in the article entitled, “7 Steps to Take When Aging Parents Need Help.” They recommended the first step be “Assess your parent’s needs.” I was amazed that they seemed to think it was up to the children to take charge. It appeared they forgot that parents have rights and may not respond well to having their children “assess” them. It sounded like it was the role of the children to plan their future without consulting them. I have not encountered any parents that are willing to take that route.
I am very aware that many parents are resistant to begin any conversation involving their future. The fear of the loss of independence or becoming dependent on their children are usually the reasons given, but there are many others. In many families, the future and their finances are taboo subjects and are off-limits for discussion. Too many times, a health crisis makes it imperative the children have the answers because they are needed right then. The first “conversation” often takes place in the hospital, and many times, the family has no idea what their loved one would have chosen at this time.
Either parents or their children can begin the “conversation.” The critical thing to remember is that all parties should know what each one values and their preferences. All the pertinent information needs to be conveyed long before it is required. Many times, the family think they know what their loved one would answer, but may be surprised to learn they were wrong. Calmly discussing the needs and wants of your loved one when they can rationally convey them will make a tremendous difference for all involved. The third step recommended was to “include your parents in the process.” It was included, but in the author’s mind not important enough to make the top. I disagree. Overall, the article had great information.
A useful resource for families facing this stage in life is “Prepare to Care: A Planning Guide for Families by AARP. You may download, or request a hard copy for free. See their website, www.aarp.org for details.