In a world where youth seems to be valued above all other qualities, old age can be a particularly tricky subject to deal with. This is especially true if it is discussing it with your own parents. When we were growing up, we saw our parents as superheroes so nobody wants to consider that one day they will get to the stage where they are unable to look after themselves. Even if this is something that people don’t want to deal with, it is better in the long run if everyone is on the same page if and when that time of life comes.
Old age and death are often seen as the last taboo, but it is high time that changed. Here are some considerations if you are planning to have this discussion with your parents.
Everyone Should Be United
The best way to discuss the subject is openly and honestly around a table with your parents and all your siblings present. It will be better in the long run if you have broached the subject beforehand so that nobody is shocked or offended when the topic comes up. Whether care for your parents is something you are going to have to deal with imminently, or it still seems a long way into the future, it’s better to get everything out in the open as soon as possible. At the meeting, you may want to deal with various different options as nobody is able to predict what can happen in the future. Ultimately, it doesn’t have to be a morbid affair, but it is all about being in the best possible position when the time comes.
Discuss Everyone’s Wishes
Your parents will probably have their own particular wishes which should always be taken into account. Rather than going into a retirement home, they may want to go into an assisted living community where they can retain a degree of independence. You also need to think about options with regards to you caring for them. It may well be the case that you want to look after them in your old age, but they would prefer someone else to take on this job. They may well have more complex needs so you need the help of a palliative nurse or other health professional. Compromises may have to be made, but that is why you are having the conversation early so there is plenty of time to deal with it.
Think About Your Role
Think long and hard about your own position in life, and how this may change in the near future. If you still have a family that needs supporting, you have to think about their needs as well as the needs of your parents. You may well want to have a very hands on role, or you may want to share responsibilities with your siblings. You may want to consider moving in order to be closer to your parents. These are all issues that should be considered when you are broaching the difficult topic of care for your parents.