That’s become our mantra. Don’t wait until an issue becomes an emergency and an emergency becomes….a crisis. Don’t wait for Dad’s heart condition to be the cause of a minor motor vehicle accident (an emergency), or a heart attack to result in someone’s getting injured or worse (a crisis) if Dad loses control of his vehicle.
It’s often not that easy. Both Carolyn and I have had personal experience with the need to prepare being stymied by an obstinate parent or a ‘hard-headed’ sibling. I’m sure we’re no different than many of you, dear readers.
So, when we come upon some helpful resources, we want to share them with you.
In 2004 Prentice Hall published How to Say It to Seniors: Closing the Communications Gap with Our Elders. by David Solie. I realize this may be an ‘old’ book but halfway through it, I knew it would be an essential tool in our elder mediation work and Tough Conversations workshops. Solie argues that seniors experience developmental crises just like anyone of us entering a new stage in our lives. For seniors the crises revolve around control (losing it) and legacy, that is, those events and values by which we want to be remembered by family, friends, and future generations. Much of Solie’s book offers strategies for carrying out meaningful conversations with our elders.
A second resource is a Planning Guide for Families titled Prepare to Care, published by the AARP Foundation. Its 28-pages provide tips on how to approach sensitive issues like assessing the financial concerns and personal care and health needs of elderly family members. These are followed by easy-to-complete checklists dealing with, among other topics, home maintenance, medical issues, and transportation needs. A down-loadable version of the Guide can be accessed at:
If you know of other resources that can help us engage more caringly and plan more productively, please share them with us and other readers.
One way or another, we are all in this together.