Aging is inevitable. Throughout all stages of life we are faced with challenges. Consider looking at these 5 uncomfortable conversations from three different perspectives. Those who have aging parents and grandparents, those who have kids and aging parents and those who are the grandparents fortunate enough to enjoy their children and grandchildren.
The aging process can be hard on you and your loved ones. Below are 5 conversations that while they may be uncomfortable at times, will greatly help with the aging process. Regardless of whether you are reading this for your parents or grandparents, or if you are the person with children and grandchildren, consider bringing up these topics while everyone is healthy.
It may be emotional and uncomfortable to have this conversation...but that's okay! The benefit of doing this is that all loved ones involved will have clarity around last wishes. As a loved one, knowing that funeral arrangements and other wishes were exactly how the person wanted them is comforting and helpful in the grieving process. Read further on pre-planning your funeral HERE.
What To Do With All The “Stuff”
Throughout our lives we acquire “stuff.” Some possessions are more meaningful than others. Figuring out a fair way to disperse or get rid of possessions is one of the biggest headaches loved ones face in the event housing arrangements change or if a loved one passes away.
This conversation can create tension, stress and all kinds of emotions, especially if it needs to be done when the family is grieving a loss. Have the conversation to decide ownership of specific items that have sentimental value. It's important to be open and communicate reasoning behind gifting something in family situations. Doing this will help prevent family tension.
IMPORTANT: Don't take it personally if the receiving individual doesn't want or see the value of something. Remember, we all acquire possessions ourselves. Sometimes... we have enough items to go through ourselves that we want to be selective about adding any more.
Our motor skills tend to slow down the older we get. Our eyes may not be as good as they used to. This is one of the hardest conversations to have with ourselves and with our loved ones. No one likes to give up their independence to drive around at their leisure or ask someone else to give it up. There may come a time when cutting back or omit driving completely is necessary. Just remember that this conversation should be rooted in love. Consider having this conversation early with children or parents and discuss what makes the most sense. Whether it'd be avoiding driving at night, in less than ideal weather or avoiding it all together, this may be for your safety.
Talking about downsizing or eldercare arrangements is uncomfortable because its emotional. Living in your own home allows you to enjoy true independence. But there may be a time when maintenance of a home becomes too much. Children and grandchildren may encourage you to pursue an alternative option that requires less maintenance. Some people even hit a point when they feel its too much for them.
Be open to starting this conversation early whether you're the one considering different housing arrangements or you are the family member looking to help make this decision. It isn't easy to to give up the house you've lived in for many years especially if it has been a family home. Hear everyone's point of view and try to come to an agreement.
It may even be a good idea to allow for tours of the new housing options. When someone decides to move, they go “house hunting.” This is an important step to go through. Moving creates fear and stress out about the unknown. A visit to an apartment, house or community can help ease someone into the idea of moving. Plus, this way they can see all of the different amenities available within that new neighborhood.
We've all been in that position where a comment is said and you just want to crawl under the table and hide. Or the situation where you wish you weren't in the room to witness it. Cringe-worthy comments that make everyone feel uncomfortable... but they happen. Sometimes, as we age they happen without us even realizing.
Have you ever heard a cringe-worthy comment to a waitress or sales clerk? If these cringe-worthy comments are embarrassing or maybe uncalled for be, honest about it. All throughout our lives, we have said things that come out the wrong way or that we really didn't mean but were caught up in the moment. Simply bringing awareness to this can be just what is needed to have someone filter their comments.
Growing older is a part of life and we all are bound to face changes. Talking about these changes in housing, health, driving etc. is important. Just remember, these subjects can be sensitive ones. Always be respectful and keep the conversation open. These topics may be uncomfortable to speak about but at the end of the day its for the best interest of all loved ones. Be compassionate, be respectful and most importantly... listen.
Chelsea Maderer is a Financial, Investment and Tax Advisor in the Buffalo-WNY region. She helps individuals and families to Clarify their needs and goals, Solve their problems, and Simplify their life to avoid the common mistakes that get in the way of enjoying life and retirement.
For more information please visit: http://SFTAweb.com.
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