“Dear Son, Dear Daughter,” Why Aging Parents Should Discuss Late-In-Life Wishes Now with Adult Kids
“Dear Son, Dear Daughter,” Why Aging Parents Should Discuss Late-In-Life Wishes Now with Adult Kids
December 27, 2014
by Lisa Treadwell
“The only thing worse than having
aging parents is not having aging parents.”
As a Certified Senior Housing Professional – an Indianapolis real estate agent who specializes in
downsizing and real estate service for seniors and their family
caregivers – I often chat with family caregivers who are trying to
figure out how to talk with their aging parents and make them aware
that their safety is at risk; that they need help with day-to-day
living or may even need to downsize and move to a more supervised situation,
But an article I came across recently
pointed out for me the importance of older adults acting proactively
and discussing the issue with their adult children before the kids
must address it with their parents. This is a huge and important
point for aging Indianapolis seniors to consider.
Those of us who work in service with
older adults call this “Having the Talk.” Of course, it usually
refers to adult kids talking with their aging parents. But how much
better it would be for seniors (or boomers who are aging) to discuss
this with their kids before it is necessary.
This “concept” was illuminated
recently by David Solie, a senior expert and author of the book “How
to Say it to Seniors.” Mr. Solie posted this on his Facebook page
in mid-December 2014:
“I wrote ‘How To Say It To
Seniors’ for adult children of aging parents as well as professionals
who work with older adults. In retrospect, that was short sighted.
What I failed to appreciate was that older adults were deeply
interested in the psychology of their stage of life. They bristled
against simply being a project or problem for their children to
figure out.
 
When I finally realized this, I started
giving copies of the book to older adults along with a simple
question. “Does this ring true to what you are experiencing?”
 
The overwhelming answer was yes. Soon
copies of the book with highlighted sections were being passed
“downstream” from aging parents to their adult children. “This
is what you need to know about me” was the message, which brings me
to Dr. Herb Randall.
 
Dr. Randall sent me a copy of a letter
he wrote his son and daughter after reading the book. It began
“Dearest Son, Dearest Daughter,” and was an elegant and moving
“what you need to know about me” communication between
generations. It was published this year in Seniors Connections.
 
The letter reminded me that having “the
talk” isn’t simply about conversing upstream to a passive
generation. Given the right information and environment, the
downstream channel is just as important and available.”
What this means from my perspective as an Indianapolis realtor who works with aging adults is that this discussion should be undertaken in the same way that older parents are usually willing to discuss life insurance, wills, funeral arrangements, and other such things.

If you’re an older adult, let your kids know what your wishes are as it concerns late-in-life housing! If – God forbid – there comes a time when you are unable to competently share those wishes, your adult children will be able to follow your instructions as best your situation allows it.Let them know if:

You’d like to live with them
 
Whether you’d prefer a move to an assisted living facility
 
How long you believe it is feasible to age-in-place
And Dr. Randall writes this in relation to the topics in Mr. Solie’s book:
“The author has discovered five predictable dilemmas which the elderly face:”
Where will I live?
 
How can I best manage my health?
 
How will I cope all by myself?
 
What should I do about money?
 
What is the right way to say good-bye?
 
Indeed, these are questions an Indianapolis senior citizen or any adult 55+ should ask themselves and then discuss the answers with their adult children.
Please feel free to contact me – Lisa Treadwell – for advice on downsizing, real estate needs, Indianapolis senior retirement communities, and anything at all to do with the process of a late-in-life transition.

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