LIFE END PLANNING FOR MOM AND DAD
Mom and Dad have taken care of you all your life. They are now aging and their health may or may not be failing yet. Have they taken the appropriate steps to plan accordingly? Do you even know?
Many times it is difficult to broach this subject with your Mom or Dad because it is a turning point in both yours and their lives. You have always had to answer to them and they have taken care of you, but they have not had to, nor do they have to, answer to you. However, it is important to gracefully address the situation. A common and appropriate transition to the conversation is when another family member or friend may be going through some hard times either dealing with difficult medical issues or even death. You are discussing the other person and you simply ask them “by the way, have you planned for these types of events in the event it happens to you?” “I don’t mean to invade your privacy, but I think it is important that I know what your wishes are should that time come for you because I want to take care of you as you have taken care of me.”
Obviously this conversation should be in private and whether or not you press further at this time will depend on how they respond. You may have to attempt this transition several times over several months before they become receptive to discuss it with you. If you have other siblings, is there one sibling who is closer to them that can break the ice easier (perhaps without the others around)? Once they are comfortable discussing it, bring the entire family in so everyone knows their wishes.
When the time comes, it is also important for the one or two who Mom and Dad put in charge to communicate with the rest of the family. Having gone through this, my family found it beneficial for the child who is first privy to the information to send out a group email to our siblings. We then follow up with phone calls and discussions as needed not only to obtain additional information, but also for the comfort and inherent therapy of simply talking about the issues with our siblings. Emails and texts cannot fill that void, but they can notify everyone fairly quickly without having one person making a multitude of calls at a time when their immediate attention may need to be attending to Mom or Dad’s needs.