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. It would pain us to think of what will happen with our parents in the future, but we need to be strong and face reality so we can be prepared to help and give them a comfortable and safe conditions in the remaining days of their lives. Here are the following suggestions that you can follow in order to face this unavoidable future condition of your parents.
No children would like to talk about the end of the days of their parents, how much more talking about it. In fact, having an in-depth discussion with parents about matters like living arrangements when they retire, inheritance, their long-term care, funeral wishes and so on, are not done by around 75% of children. But, it is also a fact, that not only are the children who are avoiding this so-called big talk, but spouses with ages 50 and above also have not talk with each other about these matters.
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 reality that our parents could be fine today and all of a sudden the following day would need a great amount of care and understanding from us, so it is advisable to be more prepared so as to minimize the stressful condition of the whole family.
This kind of discussion with the family cannot be done just out of the blue, but rather, it is advisable to have a family meeting with your parents and siblings to prepare everybody with the conditions, from financial to feelings. 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. First suggestion is for everybody in the family personally present during the meeting, not chatting or sending emails, so that you have an honest feedback from each one. 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.