1. Having Difficult Conversations Sean Leary 14:49
It’s always a touchy subject, bringing up the topics about parents growing older, needing more help, and what to do regarding that. In today’s episode of Living Well, Rhonda Halterman, owner and CEO of LivWell Seniors, talks about how to have those conversations and handle them with sensitivity to all involved.
Additional materials worksheet to consider when tackling this topic:

When to begin the conversation 

  • For most families, parents will be in their 70’s, adult children in midlife 

  • During the holidays or other special occasions 

  • Start early, don’t wait for the crisis, decisions made under pressure can be difficult 

  • Special note to those with no children/petition a trusted family member (niece, nephew) 

Beginning the conversation 

  • Thinking about the future of growing “old” when we are healthy is a good way to start 

  • Don’t liming the conversation to just health, discuss all aspects, finances, our wishes for ourselves, end of life decisions….keep these conversations ongoing 

  • Complexities as we get older, prone to scams, families living further apart, etc 

  • Resistance to asking for help, normal… 

  • Readiness, lack of models, facing an unwelcome life stage 

Purposeful conversations:  Between parents and adult children can be challenging, but equally important.  Family meetings can help develop common goals and create a plan that guides decision making.  Here are some suggestions on how to get the conversation started.   

  • Parents (aging) take the lead 

  • Parents (aging) can consider this a partnership with the adult child 

  • Adult children can express their feelings, ask questions, what can adult children offer with their skills and areas of interest.   

  • Discussions need to include finances, housing needs, health, end of life wishes  

  • Consider taking “meeting minutes” then distribute to the involved parties 

  • Long distance communications made easy now with zoom/skype meeting  

  • Goal is to develop a plan to convey wishes….update as circumstances change 

Why is this so hard? 

  • Financial affairs are a private matter,  

  • Family dynamics, not first marriage, blended families 

  • Facing increased medical expenses 

  • Death expenses are very costly, $10K plus, people don’t want to discuss death 

  • Wills/Estate plans can be complex  

Having Difficult Conversations
Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.