In an ideal world, we'd all have open and honest communication...
In an ideal world, we'd all have open and honest communication with our elders, and secrets would be out of the question. In truth, this often isn't the case.
At some point, family must talk about end of life issues with their aging parents. The most important step is to try and develop open communication. Be gentle and supportive, hoping for an honest talk. Don't judge, don't preach, don't accuse and don't dictate. The goal should be to form a partnership with your parent. Emphasize that you don't want to take things away from them, but rather enhance their life and make it easier. Some conversation starters:
- Share an article or magazine story with them about the topic.
- Ask permission to talk about the topic with them.
- Solicit support from siblings before the meeting.
- Ask, ‘Were you involved in handling your parents' affairs?" "How did you do it?"
If your parent does not cooperate, you might be forced to do some detective work. Keep a close eye on the checkbook, look for an abundance of new purchases, watch for physical injury such as bruises or limping, track how much medicine is being taken and how often prescriptions are being re-filled.
Another option is to ask the family doctor to speak with your parent. Many people are more comfortable revealing their fears and weaknesses with professional experts than with family members.
In the end, you as a caregiver can be as helpful as your parent will allow; but realize they must take responsibility for their actions."10 Secrets that Aging Parents Keep" was provided courtesy of AgingCare.com and written by Marilyn Sharbach Ladew.
AgingCare.com is a leading website that connects people caring for elderly parents to other caregivers, personalized information, and local resources. Go to http://www.agingcare.com/.