Ageing. That thing that’s happening to us with every second of every day yet we often live in denial of it. As our parents’ age, difficult but crucial conversations become inevitable. So many of these subject matters are taboo and just plain uncomfortable for children to breach with parents. However, avoiding these conversations can have serious consequences on the quality of life and well-being of our loved ones. Let’s talk about some of those key conversations.
Health care and end-of-life wishes
Talking about health care and their wishes when they pass away is a conversation that is as crucial as it is difficult. You need to talk about their desires regarding medical care and should consider going as far as getting that outlined in a legal document should they be unable to make those decisions themselves. It would also be beneficial to have a healthy proxy.
There is no shortage of online discussions about growing up and finding that you have to financially support your ageing parents because their finances are… how do you say ‘in shambles’ in a way that doesn’t make it sound like you’re disrespecting your parents? Whether or not you think their finances are in a good place, you still need to talk about things like assets, debts, sources of income and their final will and testament. There’s a literal state department for unclaimed assets because people don’t disclose these kinds of financial details to their families.
Driving and transportation
Moving around becomes more complicated as you age with things like public transportation not always being accessible. Plus, because ageing parents are more vulnerable to accidents and injuries and their health is declining, you need to think about and talk about transportation options available should they need to leave in an emergency in particular.
Your ageing parents, depending on the level of care they need may need to move into a facility and that’s something you need to talk about in advance. It can be a sore spot depending on your culture and your parents’ views as well. If they are still in good health and able to stay in their home, maybe with extra help and adjustments like grab bars in the bathrooms to minimize potential accidents in the home. You can also get them a carer to stay with them.
Ageing parents can become increasingly isolated especially as their movement is minimized and perhaps they are losing their friends and people in their age group. You may need to talk about the effects of this isolation on their mental and physical health. Even if you are not able to talk about it, you should be on the lookout for it and how it affects them. You can also be proactive and find ways for them to stay socially engaged, such as through community groups and volunteering efforts.
There are fraudsters who exclusively target the elderly, taking advantage of the rapid technological advancements and the fact that the elderly are not as updated on their methods. These scams are so common they have been dubbed ‘grandparent fraud.’ Talk to your parents about phishing emails and the importance of not clicking links they are unsure of. Talk about scam emails pretending to be family members. Remind them to always confirm any requests for money online from people posing as family members through calls to the person. Emphasize how common they care and how anyone can be scammed not just the elderly.
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