As families struggle to care for aging parents, tensions often arise in regards to decisions regarding health care and living arrangements for a parent as well as past family dynamics that often come up when these situations arise.
Lum recommends having conversations with your parents to proactively discuss these issues. You might start off by asking simple questions such as “How are you feeling about driving?” or “Do you wish to continue attending book club like before?”
As she advises, when engaging in these conversations with parents it’s essential not to accuse or blame them for their feelings but instead demonstrate your love and respect for them and value their opinions. She suggests inviting in trusted additional individuals such as a social worker from a clinic or case manager from a community agency as additional trusted resources.
If a family finds itself at an impasse over what the next steps should be for one parent, she recommends consulting an elder mediator. An elder mediator is a professional who can bring an objective third-party viewpoint to discussions; defuse high emotions; and work toward finding solutions which all parties involved can accept. Unfortunately, many families are unaware of such resources which can make all the difference for an outcome.