Archive for November, 2009

Do Adult Children Really Want To Know?

Friday, November 13th, 2009

So the question is, do the adult children really want to know what is going on in their parents’ lives? Regardless of how much they want to know, it is a good idea to have a working communication in order to be prepared for the inevitable long term issues that arise as people age.

We are all in different places regarding our parents. For some, parent’s have passed away, so there are only memories. Some are noticing some subtle changes. Some are talking about health concerns. Some are worrying silently. For some – it hasn’t even entered their minds. Some are very busy with their children and lives and have their parents in the backs of their minds. Some just don’t really want to know because that involves having to do something which they don’t have time for. Or it means accepting the fact that parents are getting older and they may have to face losing them.

Or it means really facing one’s own aging.

Barriers to Communication

So we are in different places. Even if we decide we want to talk to each other. The timing of our lives is different. We have different priorities. And there are barriers to talking such as: Just don’t want to. There are many old issues unresolved. We speak a different language. There are conflicts. We don’t have time. We live too far apart geographically. We don’t see one another often. It’s not the right time. We can always do it later.

There is a senior organization that follows the 40 or 70 rule. They say that if one of you is 40 or 70 years old it is time to talk if you haven’t done it already.

Conversation Starters

So now is the time to talk to start the conversation. It can be as simple as a comment on the telephone.  “Mom I have a friend whose parents are having some problems and need some extra help around the house. I was wondering how you are managing now that dad is gone. Can we talk about it?” 

Or, “since It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you, I want to catch up on what is happening in your life.” Or an email that says, ”Mom and Dad I am looking into some long term care insurance and wonder if you guys have it. Let’s talk about it when I come over.”

On parent side of things, it might be, “Jane, I’m really having some problems with handling the yard work, do you know anyone who could help?”  Or “Greg, I really wish you could visit more often, I get so lonesome now that dad is gone.”

It can be difficult to start but we need to start.

What do you say? Can we talk?