March 2nd, 2017
When we were teenagers, we dreaded when our parents wanted to have “the talk” with us. Now that we’re adult children of elderly parents, the roles have been reversed and it’s mom and dad who could well be on the receiving end of a conversation they’d rather not have.
Your elderly parents don’t like being reminded of their advancing years and declining physical and mental states. But much in the same way children need help navigating the trials and tribulations of adolescence, seniors need to hear that you care enough about them to offer advice about the constraints and restrictions of old age.
An elderly parent may want to continue driving – and will probably even say they’re still capable of getting behind the wheel – but car accidents can be even riskier for frail seniors, so it’s important to sit down and reassess their current driving abilities, and yes, reduce or limit driving frequency and distance if necessary.
Finances are another important topic of discussion. Though your mother or father may have been “sharp as a tack” in their younger days, paying bills or balancing a checkbook might be difficult, or even near impossible, tasks for them now. Moreover, if you don’t know your parents’ finances you may not be aware of their inability to make ends meet – so you and your siblings may need to pull your resources and help.
Other important things to discuss with your elderly parents: improvements in assisted living, which could make it easier for them to remain living at home longer; and, even though it’s an uncomfortable topic for most, End of Life instructions, which will ultimately make a loved one’s graceful exit from the world less painful for everyone involved.