Planning for Care Needs of Aging Parents

I often work with clients who are in the unfortunate position of reacting to issues that come up as their parents age. It’s made me passionate about providing tools to help families be proactive about parents’ aging by pre-planning, to the extent possible.

Recently, when I joined the world of Twitter, I found a wealth of information, from statistics on kids with aging parents to resources for both groups. Some of this information also stresses the importance of pre-planning for your parents’ aging (links to the articles/resources are further down).

While pre-planning doesn’t eliminate stress or solve every problem, it can provide peace of mind to you and your elderly parents. First you can feel more confident that decisions you may have to make are what your parents would want. Second, your parents have less anxiety because they’ve made their wishes known. Third, it opens lines of communication to talk about the tough stuff so it’s easier to talk about other difficult issues that will inevitably come up in the future.

I don’t want to downplay the difficulty in talking with parents about their aging. This is especially the case if your relationship with your parents hasn’t evolved into a peer relationship. “Based on original research conducted by Home Instead Senior Care, nearly one-third of adults in the U.S. have major communication obstacles with their parents that stems from a continuation of the parent-child role. The fact that many seniors may still be dealing with their grown sons or daughters as if they’re children rather than adults makes these conversations particularly difficult.” (If you fall into this category, pre-planning for you might be to get some coaching or counseling to give you the tools to talk with your parents about aging issues when they do come up. However, if it seems that talking to your parents is impossible, you still can plan for the what-ifs.)

Following are several resources to help you plan for issues that can arise with aging parents:

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer this CNNMoney.com article, Sandwich Generation: Survive the midlife tug of war, has some good information and resources: http://money.cnn.com/2007/02/20/magazines/moneymag/tug_of_war.moneymag/index.htm

A downloadable caregiver’s guide from public broadcasting can also help you plan: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/caringforyourparents/handbook/gettingstarted/index.html

Lastly, for those of you in Oregon and Washington, I’m offering a workshop in June, Planning for Future Care Needs of Aging Parents, to help families prepare for parents’ aging.

The workshop takes a more hands on approach to help you:

  • get your parents to sit down and talk
  • consider who else should be involved
  • figure out what to talk about and how to talk about it
  • determine when it’s time to implement the plan
  • and more.

The workshop provides adults and aging parents with the tools to talk about finances, health, legal and safety concerns and other aging issues. A workbook is included. The three-hour workshop is on June 6th from 9-noon at Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ, 4790 S.E. Logus Road in Milwaukie, Oregon. For cost and more details on the content, contact me.

Whether small or big, any step is better than reacting to each crisis. I encourage you to push through any discomfort you have and begin to talk with your parents or at the least, make a plan for the what-ifs.

Would you like to talk about your specific situation?

Email, call (503) 243-2283, text 503-893-8264 or click here to schedule an appointment online.

PLEASE VISIT MY OTHER SITE if you're dealing with depression, anxiety, self confidence or other issues keeping you from being happy: counselorportlandoregon.com

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