Ahhh, Summertime! Time for vacations, get togethers, the beach, BBQs and long-term care discussions with family. Wait, say what??? OK – that last one doesn’t quite fit the typical summertime experience but let me explain!
For most of us, summer is a season that we really look forward to - a nostalgic and exciting time steeped in great memories of time spent with family and friends. We think of fun (and not so fun) family vacations (we all have that Griswold family vacation trip in mind!). School is out. You can spend time at the beach or your neighbors pool. It really is the season to relax and enjoy!
For me, summer means spending that extra time with family and friends on the baseball or softball field, hiking in NH, kayaking at the state park and really spending as much time outside as possible in preparation for yet another long New England winter!
It is also a great time to stay connected or reconnect with family and friends. There’s a chance to slow down a bit and better connect with those we love. We recently had an opportunity to get together over the Fourth of July with family. In today's world of hyper-busyness, we don’t always get opportunities like this where everyone is together with no agendas or daily checklists. It’s a chance to be present, talk, listen, catch up and check in on a deeper level than the quick phone calls, emails and texts we are all used to.
Amongst the stories of Babe Ruth baseball, summer camp experiences and vacation plans are also those of catching up and checking in with our parents. This is a great time to truly listen to your parents. Observe how they are doing. Listen to the stories of their friends and family members that may be struggling. One of the realities that we must all face is that sooner or later our parents or family members may need our help. It is not an easy, fun or glamorous conversation to have, yet it is one that may be on the mind of both a parent and child.
How do you approach this topic with a parent or loved one? First start by active listening. How is mom or dad really doing? What are their concerns? What’s keeping them up at night with worry? At some point, just start a conversation – put it out there. Chances are if it’s on your mind it’s probably on the mind of your loved one. It may be good to do a little homework prior to broaching the subject and consider having some topics to bring to the conversation.
We want to share some basics concepts with you to get you thinking about how you can frame a conversation with a loved one that is a right fit for you and them.
Having a Conversation with a Parent about Aging
In conclusion, make the most of your summer! Enjoy the extra time off no matter how you choose to spend it. Go create new memories for you and your family. Be present and enjoy the extra special time with them. And never pass up an opportunity to talk candidly and openly with a family member about their long-term health needs. Enjoy your summer!
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.