When the time comes, talking about aging can be difficult for parents and children. Here's how to ease into the subject with your mom or dad.
Use others as examples to discus similar situations. Referring to a friend or family member who is going through or experienced a like circumstance will help to bring the subject up indirectly. Reference an aunt whose doctor prescribed treatment options or a grandmother whose lawyer helped to complete legal documents, for example. Use this opportunity to explain to your parent how watching a family member experience those things taught you not to wait to complete them yourself.
Use what's happening in the news to be prepared. Recent medical controversies can be your cue to bring up the subject of being prepared for any situation. Break the ice with the local news story and talk about how to prevent anything like it from happening to your family.
Safety in numbers. Talk to your siblings or others who are close to your family about your parents' future. Being on the same page with those who are closest to your parents will ensure that when the subject does come up, an agreeable plan can be made without confusion.
Make your own medical and legal aging plans, and share them with your parents. Outline how you are preparing for aging and ask your mom and dad if they would be interested in doing something similar. If your plan is still in the works, perhaps you can work on them together.
Be open and ready if your parents bring up aging themselves. Don't dismiss the subject if your parents bring it up. Take this opportunity to lay the ground work for future discussions and decisions.
While delicate in nature, discussions about aging are inevitable and necessary. When an appropriate time presents itself, be ready to talk about what is most important with those most important to you.
Source: Joanne Kenen Photo: Anissa Thompson