A bit of preamble if you will………….I consider myself one of the lucky ones, while I lost my mother nearly 20 years ago, my father was lucky enough to find a lady foolish enough to take him on again and they are happily living in retirement.
But he is getting on and while he feels he’s just a little past middle age, the fact is he‘s past life expectancy, so he’s done well. Of course as I keep telling him, once you’re past life expectancy they keep extending your life expectancy, so it’s a win win really.
I get on well with my father & step mother and as many of you know they live close by. I’m also rather logical and have a non-emotional way of looking at most things (although some like my wife call it a heart of stone!) and of course I’m a financial planner, so you’d hope I know what I’m talking about when it comes to considering aged care for my father.
So, in my case that makes the inevitable conversation about options for care as my father ages, fairly straight forward (and credit to Dad as he is also fairly practical). However that’s not the case for most people, as they find it a very difficult topic to broach and no wonder.
Most people consider a move into Aged Care (or options re Home Care) a health issue, and it is, but it’s also so much more than this; it’s an emotional issue, it’s an organisational issue and it’s a financial issue.
Now none of these are necessarily any more important than the other, but combined they can all lead to feelings of guilt, grief, sadness, exhaustion, the list goes on. For some it’s the first time when the shoe really is on the other foot, i.e. we (the kids) have relied on “mum & dad” to be the guiding light or the rock upon which we’ve leaned and now we’re the ones having to provide the support, sometimes emotional & financially……….it can be a difficult time for all involved.
“Mum & Dad” don’t know how to react because they have always been the strong ones and they don’t want to burden the kids. The kids don’t know how to react because they don’t want to boss “mum & dad” around and take away their independence………so the conversation usually gets left until it’s too late.
As we know with most things in life, procrastination (which is usually one of my downfalls) is not the answer. So when it comes to opening up the channels of communication with regard to living arrangements for those who like my father have reached “middle age”, take the first step. As with everything, the first step is always the hardest, but once had, you’ll feel so much better.
Of course our role at COMPASS is to help you through these times, we can’t do much to help with the medical side of things, but we can certainly help with the organisational & financial issues and in turn that helps to ease the emotional impact.
Regarding my father, we aren’t there yet re needing to make a move, but that’s the whole point, we need to be open to and having the conversation before he needs to move. Thanks Dad for making these conversations relatively easy to have, I’m lucky you are mine, you’re a good man.
As for my step mother (I know that sounds harsh, but I don’t want to use names), bless you for living through (and with) the process as my father ages, thank you.