The Conversation You Should Have With Your Parents This Holiday Season
For many, the holidays are all about getting together with family. In fact, it may be the only chance you get this year to spend several days with your aging parents. So, in between arguments about politics or catching up on your cousin’s latest stint in rehab, I want to recommend that you do something important in the coming weeks: talk to your mom or dad about elder care.
I know. No one wants to think about getting older, and you probably don’t love the thought of breaking up an otherwise nice afternoon to bring up a scary topic. But, by being the one who is brave and starting a difficult conversation, you could save yourself and your parent a huge amount of stress later.
Here is why I think this might be the perfect time to talk about the future…
Most of us are more relaxed around the holidays, and naturally looking toward the future. So, even if Mom or Dad wouldn’t normally be open to discussing things like nursing homes and living wills, you might be able to bring it up when you’re face-to-face and everyone is relatively happy.
Some ideas or decisions might require input from other members of the family. This might be your chance to talk about things while everyone is close by. Or, you might be able to get your siblings on a video call at a time when they also have a few days off from work.
Speaking of family members, your parent(s) might be more open to thinking about the future if they have their children and grandchildren around. It’s easy to procrastinate on a difficult task or conversation when you’re thinking about yourself, but it’s harder to ignore facts when you realize it might impact those you love most.
And finally, if you are like me and see your aging parent infrequently, then you might want a chance to see them up close in their day-to-day lives. Then you can assess whether they might need more help with household chores, driving, or medical care (as examples) in the near future. You can observe them and ask questions that might not have occurred to you if you are calling over the phone.
I can promise you there won’t ever be a time when you will feel like talking to your mom or dad about what sort of assisted-living facility they would want to reside in one day, or which of their children they would prefer to have managing finances on their behalf. But, by starting an awkward conversation now, you can avoid the trap of having to make impossible decisions later without the right documents or information.
It’s a future gift you can give your parent and yourself, and one that neither of you will probably truly appreciate for years to come.
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This walker is a bit pricey but the steering and rolling comfort makes it easy to use. Note: most people push it like a shopping cart. That is wrong. The correct way is to stand upright and not lean forward. If you don't know how to use it have a nurse show you.