Facing the Facts that Parents Do Get Old and How to Handle the Situation
We might avoid thinking of this, but we have to face the fact that one of these days our parents will not be able to fend themselves, from climbing stairs, driving, changing their clothes, or even feeding themselves. This may be a painful thought of the future, but we need to face and prepare ourselves, and our parents, to give them a comfortable and safe condition in the last stages of their lives. Here are the following suggestions that you can follow in order to face this unavoidable future condition of your parents.
It is undeniable that most, if not all of us, do not want to think about the end of the lives of our parents, much less talk about it. Statistics showed that around 75% of adult children have not had a serious talk with their parents about situations when their parents get old, like living arrangements, their long-term care, inheritance, funeral wishes and so on. Actually, it is not just the children who seem to be avoiding this talk but the parents themselves who are not even discussing it with each other.
This old age matter of parents could be the so-called elephant in the room, meaning as the most difficult yet very important topic that you and your family have to do and face. It is a sad fact that one day our parents are fine and the next day they need a great amount of care from us, and so the more prepared the family is, the lesser the stress the whole family will face.
A conversation with this topic is not something that you can just give a quick notice with your parents and siblings, but rather, prepare everybody by planning a family meeting with everybody and be ready to assess emotions and finances especially. The most difficult part during the family meeting is the thought that you are discussing the days when you will not have your parents in your life sooner than later, and thus it is better to make the agenda as less intense as possible, like saying that the goal of the meeting is to know what dad and mom would need and their wishes as they retire, or something to that effect.
There are some guidelines from a professional source on what to prepare and conduct a family meeting with this kind of agenda. One is to conduct the meeting where members of the family are in person and not doing the chat or email, so that you will get honest feedback from everybody. Other suggestions would be to have ready each one’s questions in advance so there is no rush in getting thoughts, give full attention to each one talking during the conversation, and write all the important matters agreed upon for future references.