Health & Exercise


I think we all agree that it’s difficult enough to face the fact that our parents are getting older, and that we do indeed, need to make decisions regarding their future. But, actually doing so without disagreeing with our siblings, is another story.

In today’s world, we are so spread out from each other, that often times, NONE of us may even live in the same city as our parents, and if we do, we should consider ourselves very blessed! Perhaps you come from a large family, such as I do. I’m the youngest child of six. Unfortunately, my professional background and career meant nothing to my five older siblings when it came to making choices about my parents care as they got older and needed more assistance. Yes, this was difficult for me, however, I swallowed my pride, and loved my parents, and continued to do what I felt was best for them. No matter what, I would always advise you to never disagree in front of your parent(s), and never let them know about your disagreements. They are still, and always will be, your parents.

Often times, when one child does live in the same city as the parent, he or she, bears the brunt of the responsibility. That means taking them to doctors appointments, making sure that their prescriptions are filled, their house cleaned, and their groceries taken care of. When you have a family and job of your own, this can be overwhelming! It’s easy for the other siblings to “breeze in” on the weekends, visit with mom and dad, point out what they think “should” be done, and breeze back out. Listen, I’m telling you as someone who has listened to endless stories from the “One who lives in the same city as mom”, you don’t have a right to do that. YOU JUST DON’T! I have a very close friend whose mother has cancer. She has three small children, a husband, and a full time job. Yet, because she’s the one who lives in the same city as her mom, she’s the one who takes her to doctor appointments, for chemo treatments, makes sure she has everything she needs, and spends every spare minute she has with her. Do her siblings resent her for that? Not at all. They treat her with nothing but love, gratitude and appreciation, and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen! Her sister and brother-in-law who live out of state send her gift certificates for gas cards, groceries, and spa days (for herself!) at least twice a month. They say, “It’s our way of helping, and doing our part, because we can’t physically be there. We want her to know how much we love and appreciate her taking care of mom.”

Trust me, when siblings disagree on mom or dad’s care, the parent is the one who loses. Every single time. I would offer these words of advice, and, again, please feel free to contact me for any questions that you may have.

*Sit down and discuss what will happen when mom or dad needs additional care BEFORE the time comes. I often refer to this as Crisis vs. Choice. The time to discuss this is NOT at your parents’ hospital bedside, when you have 48 hours to make a decision, because they’re being discharged, and they can’t go home…

*If you discuss it before it becomes a Crisis, you can involve your parent, and then, you’ll know what THEY want, and really, isn’t that the most important thing?

*Discuss finances. I know this is a tough one. None of us like to discuss money, especially with our parents, but it has to be done. Write it up in black and white, for everyone to see. Do the math. There are many worksheets available online to help you with this.

*This is a perfect time to talk about Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, and Living Will.

As with anything else, communication is the key. Remember, this is your parents you are talking about. Set aside your differences for their sake.

Until next time,

The Waynedale News Staff

Bonnie Simmons

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