Having difficult discussions with parents often is something adult children avoid. ‘Why bring it up?’ is a common response. At assisted living communities like The Peninsula in Hollywood we find the holidays are an excellent time to have these sensitive discussions.
It’s a good time for elderly parents to talk with their adult children and vice versa. Visiting during the holidays brings families together under one roof. Granted, there are a lot of family dynamics in play, but if approached with sensitivity, these can be important talks regarding parents’ wishes as they age.
Of foremost importance is to be observant how your parent is coping in their current living situation. Seeing how they are getting by may offer a way to open the door on the idea of moving to an assisted living community. An in-person visit may clearly indicate that a parent no longer is safe living at home alone. Being together may offer the time to visit a community. A parent may welcome someone driving them to a community and bridging the gap with the sales person.
At The Peninsula, there always is staff available to meet and tour with families especially during the holidays.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal recommended that family discussions may start by breaking the ice and discussing family histories and legacies. Grandchildren may be able to show off their technology skills by making a video of grandparents sharing family stories. Many estate planning guides offer advice in creating a type of love letter. By starting with a family history, where the person was born and where their grandparents were born, many memories can be sparked and then recorded.
During these discussions is also a time to learn where to find critical documents. Have they created a power of attorney should they become ill and a health care proxy which allows someone to make medical decisions if they are unable to communicate? Is there a will and what would they like done with family heirlooms?
Do you know the names of your parents’ doctors? Learning this and where they bank, their investment accounts and location of a safety deposit box are all details that are helpful for adult children to learn. In this day and age of passcodes, we encourage people to share these with a family member.
It’s not necessary to cover all the details at one sitting. By planning ahead you’ll alleviate many problems in the future.
At The Peninsula, we work with families every day. You are not alone and other families like yours have tackled these issues too.