Aging Parents, Adult Children: Control and End-of-Life Issues

The “12 Things Children of Aging Parents Should Know” post, assumes parents feel able to give up some control. It also assumes discussing wills and things pertaining to end of life will help aging parents and their adult children because of the practicality, even if it’s not pleasant.

Part of the aging process involves a lessening of control that’s out of an older person’s control.  But older people can keep a significant amount of control if they make the effort. Thus, not divulging PINs and where bank accounts, valuables etc. are kept may be a matter of not wanting to relinquish control.

For some, discussing anything pertaining to their mortality is off-limits. Period. (No problem. We give a solution at the end of this post.)  But isn’t it interesting that, in an era when so many subjects are freely discussed, end-of-life issues remain awkward–even taboo–for many in both generations.

Our senior advisor, psychiatrist Dr. Bud, explains: “It can be superstition–fear that talking about end-of-life issues can put a hex, cast a spell, or cause something to happen.  Some shun this kind of conversation also because it stirs up fear of death.”

Adult children, not their aging parents, may stonewall attempts to talk about planning for the last stage of life. They don’t want to think about their parents dying. They can be in denial about the predictability of death, resist anything that hints at parents’ death–even to the point that they don’t want to accept a special heirloom-type gift or piece of art that elderly parents want to give their children to enjoy during their lifetime.

To help parents age well throughout the lifespan using the information listed in the “12 Things” post will save caring children time and stress.  If the information is not forthcoming during a parent’s lifetime, however, our senior advisor attorney suggests that parents write a letter, explaining the location of those 12 important things.

The letter’s envelope stating “Not to be opened until my death” should be kept with other important documents. There’s the solution.

Although not as helpful as having the information while parents are living, such a letter will help aging parents ultimately make their children’s lives easier; and will help adult children to better carry out their parents’ wishes.

Check out “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Links to timely information and research from top universities and respected professionals, plus some practical and perhaps fun stuff–to help parents age well.

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