A Common Mistake People with Older Parents Make
Many of you may have a mother or father, grandparent, uncle/aunt, sister or brother, who may look like they need help now or as they advance in years may need help in the near future.
What’s a common mistake that people make? They wait too long to have the conversation or take any action.
The reason: they think it’s unpleasant or they just don’t think about what can actually happen. The truth is we all plan for the uncertainties of life.
You may be asking, “what are the uncertainties that we plan for?” or, “How can you be planning for uncertainty, that seems like a contradiction?”
If you drive you to carry car insurance, yet there’s no certainty that you’ll be in an accident. Actually, you hope that doesn’t happen. But, in the event it does, you know you’re covered.
Similarly, you carry medical insurance despite the fact that you are uncertain if you will every use it. Once again, if needed, WHEW!!!! you’re covered.
I don’t know about you, but, in the uncertain event of rain, I have an umbrella in my car at all times.
But………the truth is we don’t plan for the certainties that come along with aging. The risks are great that something will happen, especially as we advance in years to our 70s and 80s and onward. Does it always happen? No, but there certainly is a greater likelihood.
I always liken our bodies to a car. We may be diligent about regular maintenance checks but the truth is, at 60,000, 70,000, 80,000 miles, there’s a greater likelihood that something will go wrong. The engine timing can be off, a thermostat overheats, a hose pops a leak, a tire goes flat.
Waiting too long to have difficult discussions about the certainties that go along with aging could cost you and your loved one time, money, stress and overwhelm. This is especially true if there are already underlying conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, a diagnosis of dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, history of heart attack, etc. Even if there isn’t an actual diagnosis a change in condition, even a minor change, could be a signal that something is brewing.
Then, BOOM!!!!!!!! You get that dreaded phone call. Your loved one had a heart attack, stroke, fell and broke their hip, hit their head, was in an accident, got lost in their neighborhood. He/she is in the hospital. You don’t know where to turn, who to call, where to go. You’re stressed, worried. There's so much to do and learn.
Where do you turn? There doesn't seem to be any time. Decisions and arrangements need to be made. Surely, you can’t make the best decisions in crisis mode when you're stressed, overwhelmed, worried.
What’s the best antidote to this situation? Get the information you need before you need it; before the accident happens.
Plan by Choice, because you can’t plan or make the best decision when you’re in a crisis.
and Being Informed, is being Forearmed.
TAKE This QUIZ….. If you answer YES to any of these questions, HELP is on the WAY!!!
1. Do you have an older parent or loved one?
2. Do you think he or she is in need of care or assistance?
3. Do you think or are you concerned that he/she may need care in the near future?
4. Have you ever been notified that your loved one had an unexpected situation that required
If you answer NO to either of these questions, HELP is on the WAY!!!
5. Have you and your loved one(s) had discussions about the type of care he/she would want if
the need arises?
6. Have you had discussions about the important issues that arise when a person is in need of
In the years since I've been doing this work, I haven't spoken to anyone who this doesn't affect, hasn't affected or they know someone it has affected. Countless people have told me “I wish I met you months ago.”
Caring for an older parent or loved one can be like taking on a job.
There are a lot of moving parts, people involved and things to consider. It’s almost like being a CEO of a small
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WSJ named visionary Dr. Bill Thomas. There are no words to describe how proud I am to have had him lend his support to my work.
Dr. Thomas’ words and ideas have been an inspiration to me since I read his book ‘Life worth Living’ many years ago. It’s the story of how he transformed a traditional nursing home to one that was a true living environment that provided quality of life and quality of care. From that nursing home in upstate New York, he created the most innovative care environments in the U.S.; The Green House Homes and the Eden Alternative, proof that it’s possible to provide quality living environments for our loved ones.
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