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  • ksingletary8

Difficult conversations

Have you found yourself at a point where a conversation about the future needs to take place? Maybe that conversation is with a parent, or maybe with your siblings, or most likely both. This is a conversation most people avoid, or take the position that, "we'll cross that bridge when we get to it", and then hope and pray they never get to the bridge. Unfortunately, for the majority of us, that day will eventually come and it is best if you prepare, even just a little, for what you will do in certain situations. The book "The Parent Care Conversation" by Dan Taylor is just one book available to help guide you on this journey.

A common problem in many families is that we may not all live in close proximity to each other and that means that sometimes responsibilities fall on whoever lives the closest. That doesn't mean the others are off the hook, it means you need to have a plan in terms of communication and realistic expectations of each other and what you can and cannot do to help. This also means the aging parents need to have a realistic expectation of what is available to them in terms of support. I have been working in long term care for a long time and have worked with too many families to count and it amazes me sometimes how much the kids are doing for mom and/or dad only to hear the parent say they aren't getting any help and doing it all on their own. Sometimes they just don't recognize how much help they are getting, other times it is denial that they need any help.

One of the other things I have faced are promises made long ago, either by spouses to each other or a child that they would never get to a point that they would consider nursing home placement. That is a big promise to make, not knowing what the future holds and what you will be capable of doing at that time.

Having those frank discussions early on can help immensely down the road before something happens and you have to make decisions at a point of crisis. This includes having discussions about who will serve as the Power of Attorney for Healthcare and the Power of Attorney for Finances, knowing where the important papers are kept, and even burial arrangements. You would be surprised how many kids don't know if mom and dad have a preferred funeral home, or may already have a pre-paid funeral, or may even already have their entire funeral service planned out.  While having these discussions can be difficult and challenging, and involve subjects we usually don’t want to think about, having these conversations now will help you in the future.  Understand that you will never be able to plan for every possible event or circumstance, but these conversations will allow you to be more prepared for when you finally have to cross that bridge you have been hoping to avoid.   -- Kevin Singletary, Social Service Director - Apostolic Christian Home of Eureka

 

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Welcome to the EACH Blog

Welcome to our Blog site. We know that getting older and helping parents or loved ones as they age can be challenging and comes with a myriad of questions that aren't always easy to get answers to.

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