June 01, 2009

Helping our Parents with Difficult Decisions

Helping our Parents with Difficult Decisions --The Perfect Father’s ( or Mother’s) Day Gift

It’s the time of year to think about our parents. Recently celebrated Mother’s Day and Father’s day is coming up. The perfect gift for Adult children to give to mom and dad. – Help with planning for their future.  Help is needed because getting older isn’t what it used to be. In the past, extended families took care of aging members. Also, with recent medical advances, our life expectancy has grown dramatically and experts say it is going to grow even more soon. 

Typically a medical crisis forces a family to deal with these issues but being pro-active can help to increase a person’s options and thus increase making the most of our bonus years.Certainly the topic itself is difficult. Making decisions is tough for everyone but it’s especially daunting when it involves the elderly.  This is an area which our parents really need our understanding, empathy and compassion.

Onne might ask, “What do I know gerontology or where does one even begin ?”   You begin by being willing to raise the issue and ask questions. You don’t have to be an expert. Helping our parents doesn’t mean telling them what to do or treating them like children. The two greatest gifts you can offer is a willingness to talk about this difficult subject and reassurance that you are there to help and assist with getting needed resources.  

Four Tips :

  1. Make a list of questions to ask
  2. Record your parent’s wishes and store them where they can be found.
  3. Know your resources . Go  to  www.ongov.net and click on
  • Department of Aging and Youth, notice
  • Resources guide for Senior Services  
  1. Have Realistic Expectations  This is tough stuff and is stressful for everyone. Have realistic  expectations  and get support.

 

Rev. Heath, LMHC prepared these remarks for Bridge Street   6 1  2009

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