A slice of sound advice to go with your pumpkin pie

A slice of sound advice to go with your pumpkin pie

As the upcoming holiday season nears, many travel plans are being made to visit family and friends.  Often times, if you are a child who is caring for an aging loved one from a distance, this is the only time of year you will be able to physically observe any changes in those loved ones.  Throughout the year, I speak with those children living far away and trying to do their best to take care of mom and/or dad residing in Florida.  At this time of year though, there is a heightened state.  The phone starts ringing more often, they gather resources, in order to be of support once they actually arrive and need to take action.  A few things I always find myself saying, seem to help with the process, so I thought I would share them here.

1. You are not alone.  Many families are going through the same difficulty with an aging loved one, and have no idea what next step to take.

2. If it’s not an emergency, don’t treat it like one.  By this, I mean stay calm and level-headed, gather the specific facts and needs, and ONLY THEN act.

3. Do your homework.  Ideally, before there’s a crisis.  Figure out what resources are out there. In the senior care industry across the US, there are plenty of caring and competent people in this business for all of the right reasons.  Those people will most likely surround themselves with other caring and competent people in the same space who offer a different service.  Find someone involved who your gut and intuition says you can trust, and rely on them to help navigate you through this journey.  If they are in the senior care industry for the right reasons, they aren’t only trying to “sell you” something.  They are truly trying to be a resource to the families they service, who happen to offer a service you might need.

4. Be compassionate and patient with your aging loved one. Often, our aging loved ones know things are slowly changing in their abilities, but it’s never easy to ask your child or anyone else for help. Losing independence on any level can spur many emotions including denial, anger and fear.  Engage, over many conversations, and find out how they really feel about what’s going on and what their wishes are.  The earlier the adult child begins those conversations with their parent/parents, the easier it will be on them in the future when they are faced with decisions.

5. Pay it forward.  If you are a parent of a child today, start those “aging” conversations once your child is at an appropriate age. No, it’s not as fun as discussing the next vacation or what restaurant you’ll eat dinner at over the weekend, but it is necessary to open communication and effective planning.  Hopefully, it will also alleviate a load of stress off of your child/children’s plate when they are faced with the same situation one day.

If anyone you know is need of a resource for an aging loved one, I’m truly happy to help!  To all of my friends, clients and colleagues, have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!