A PERSONAL STORY ABOUT HAVING HARD CONVERSATIONS WITH YOUR PARENTS –
My parents recently downsized from a five bedroom house to a three bedroom split level. My sister and I started having initial conversations about my parents moving three years ago. At first, my mother, a fire spirited independent Filipina Woman, was adamant that she was going to stay in her house until she died.
So we started planting seeds in their head about possibly moving or downsizing. As most parents from the older baby boomer generation, she did not want to talk about it but as she herself got older, close friends passed away, and my father who is two years old than her, started showing the signs of aging she reluctantly (I mean, really reluctantly) started engaging in these conversations. It took some time and was not an easy process, but I learned these things through much passionate discussion:
- Listen to your parents wants and needs. Ask them why they don’t want to move? Do they feel that this will signal an end to the rest of their life? I mean really listen… don’t disregard or minimize their feelings in any way much like I first did. It does not move anyone to the end goal.
- Ask your parents what is important to them in finding their new house. For my mom it meant being close to her church and friends. For my dad, it meant being close to the grandchildren and a home with much less maintenance.
- Involve the entire family. Thank God my sister Lara was an integral part of the process. We would talk everyday about next steps and took turns being the voice of reason in family discussions.
- Have an agreed upon plan and a timeline for that plan. As an estate and business planner, dealing with multigenerational families, I wanted everything timed out perfectly. My mother and father, not so much, they would change their minds constantly, which was not fun for my type A personality. Try to be patient and realize that this is a very difficult process for your loved ones.
- Then try to have other difficult conversations… This is a perfect time to discuss other potential issues, such as do they have a life plan in place, have they done their estate planning, do they want to age in place.
Caring for your loved ones is something you do everyday and having difficult conversations demonstrates your love. Please contact me to have a free consultation at 770- so I can help you help your loved ones with some of these difficult conversations.