Have You Had the Talk?



    As parents of pre-teens we all have had the fear and
    apprehensions of having “the talk” with our kids. We plan
    a day, place, and time and we get through it quickly and
    painlessly the best way we can in hopes of never having to
    broach the subject ever again.
    Fast forward, many years later, and we find ourselves in
    the same situation, but this time it is not about the birds and
    the bees. Unfortunately, we are having a more difficult and
    painful conversation with our parents. We are having “the
    talk” about aging, end of life and end of life planning.
    As our parents reach their seventies, eighties and nineties
    we start to see changes in their abilities to process, problem
    solve, successfully complete activities of daily living
    and care for their homes.
    Approaching your independent parents can be very difficult,
    as many seniors are in denial of their current state of
    functioning or the condition of their home.
    Some questions to ask: Are you eating properly? (Takeout
    at a fast food restaurant doesn’t count.) Are you taking
    your meds on time? Are you getting enough exercise every
    day? Are you able to get to doctor’s appointments? Are you
    getting enough social interaction daily? (Church and hairdresser
    once a week is not enough.)
    If your parents are not able to answer these questions
    successfully, it is definitely time for “the talk.” A lot of seniors
    will pay someone to take care of the yard maintenance
    and hire a cleaning service to take care of the interior of the
    home. This can become very costly.
    There are so many pieces to the aging puzzle that have
    to fit to ensure that seniors are getting the best help and care
    for an optimal quality of life. Continuing Care Retirement
    Communities are the best option for many seniors because
    they provide a holistic approach to living and wellness. If
    seniors cannot afford that option, friends and family may be
    engaged to step up and assist their loved ones to ensure their
    safety, care and well-being.
    Home health services are another option but can be
    very expensive as the number of hours of assistance required
    daily start to increase. At that point, assisted living is
    an option. Seniors require assisted living when they can no
    longer perform their activities of daily living without some
    assistance. These include bathing, dressing, ambulation, and
    medication management.
    Skilled care is required when more extensive services
    are required. Skilled Care is the most expensive option of
    all. Ask your parents what hospital, rehab unit or assisted
    living facility they would wish to go to if there were an accident
    and they are no longer able to make those decisions.
    Visit the facilities and get on their waiting lists if they are
    Do you know your parent’s wishes? Do they have a
    plan? Sit down with them and have “the talk.” You may
    encounter a great deal of defensiveness, push-back, or silent
    behaviors. This is something they do not want to think
    about as we all think we are going to live forever. Children
    and those with Power of Attorney need to know if there is a
    Last Will and Testament, DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order
    or a living will. Where are these documents located? The
    last place you want it to be is in a safe without access to
    the code. Having a locksmith come in to crack the code is
    the least convenient thing you would want to do in a time
    of stress or grief. Where are your parent’s banking and investment
    accounts located and have they named someone to
    access their accounts in an emergency? Are there life insurance
    policies? Are the bills set up as automatic draft? Are
    there lenders that they owe? Have they pre-paid their burial
    and funeral costs? So many questions with so little time.
    Don’t be the child that was too afraid to have “the talk”
    with their parents. Life is much harder and estates are more
    difficult to settle when plans aren’t in place and wishes aren’t
    conveyed to children or executors. Ask the difficult
    questions and be prepared. Your parents or loved ones will
    thank you and be at peace knowing that someone knows
    their wishes and will take care of everything in the short
    term and the long term after they are gone. What are you
    waiting for? Go have “The Talk”!
    By Lorie Aldridge, Director of Marketing and Sales,
    Trinity Oaks Retirement Community, Salisbury, NC


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