It’s easy to put off sensitive family discussions. Perhaps you’re a family caregiver worried about whether or not Dad is still safe to drive. No problem avoiding that awkward subject until next week, right?
Could be you’re a widow who is struggling to maintain her home. Why worry your adult children with these concerns, you’re thinking. After all, they’re busy with their own lives.
So what if you dodge those touchy topics for another day or week or month. Not a big deal, right? Not necessarily. Tongue-tied families are paying for procrastinating on a wide variety of subjects, new research conducted by the Home Instead Senior Care® network reveals.
Seventy percent of family conversations about aging are prompted by an event such as a health crisis or other emergency, senior care professionals reported in the study. That can leave so many older adults and their family caregivers vulnerable at the most difficult of times, such as when a stroke has happened or a car accident has occurred. It’s so important to start these conversations, but even more important to finish them. That’s why Home Instead Senior Care developed the 40-70 Rule®: An Action Plan for Successful AgingSM.
The 40-70 Rule refers to the ages when critical conversation should have taken place, age 40 if you’re an adult child and age 70 if you’re a senior. The action plan encourages individuals of all ages to begin these important conversations, then ACT (Assess, Consider, Talk) on their desires and wishes for the future, and put their plan into action. So what topics related to seniors are most important? Many families agree that sensitive topics often revolve around living and financial choices, health, dating, driving and end of life.
Having Serious Talks with your Aging Parents
With so much at stake, what’s getting in the way of families having “the talk?” A variety of issues came to light in the recent study. The top barriers to critical conversations for adult children and their aging parents include:
- I am not aware of all the topics I should be discussing.
- I haven’t wanted to deal with it.
- I don’t know how to start these conversations.
- I haven’t thought about it.
The Home Instead Senior Care study found that 22 percent of adult children in the U.S. said their families have experienced problems such as fights or hurt feelings due to lack of communication about financial, health crises and similar issues. In addition, one in four adult children in the U.S. (25 percent) anticipates that their families could have problems in the future due to lack of communication about these important topics.
At Home Instead Senior Care Pittsburgh - Southwest, our team suggests that you keep the following in mind when preparing for the road ahead:
- Make sure your family knows what you want as you grow older.
- Make your family aware of where important documents and contact information are located.
- Explain to the people closest to you why you’ve come to the decisions that you have about your future.
The Action Plan for Successful Aging can help families around Bethel Park achieve all of those goals. Whether you’re a senior or family caregiver, resources of the 40-70 Rule program can help you through the decision-making process. Check out other tools, including a guide of conversations starters for seniors and their families.
Remember that Home Instead Senior Care Pittsburgh - Southwest is available to assist no matter how your plan takes shape. A little extra help from a Home Instead CAREGiverSM is among the aging solutions that could aid older adults and their families. CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured, and provide a variety of services from light housekeeping to errands to medication reminders. Talking sooner rather than later is best. But it’s never too late to get started.
For more information, contact Home Instead Senior Care Pittsburgh - Southwest at (412) 595-7554 or Ask us a question about Senior Home Care.