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Discuss Eldercare With Mom and Dad Before They Need It

The issue of what to do about aging Mom and Dad is one of the most difficult that adult children will face, and an expert at caregiving offers counsel that could help them meet that challenge.

Caregiving is a reality for many adult children today—many more than ever before. Fifty years ago, caregiving wasn’t necessary as often, because the average life expectancy was barely over age 62. Today, the prevailing state of medical technology and care has advanced that life expectancy to 78, meaning that the likelihood of needing extra care in later years is far more likely than even 20 years ago.

“If you’re an adult, and your parents are still alive and in decent health, it’s likely that you’ll have to take charge of their care at some point before they pass away,” says Ali Davidson, a life coach and former owner of a home-care agency who has written the book It’s Between You and Me ( “Invariably, most adult children do what they can to avoid the conversation with their parents about how they will handle that moment when it is apparent they are no longer able to care for themselves. Yes, it seems like it can be awkward and embarrassing, but it’s also necessary if you intend to lovingly and intelligently care for them as they get older.”

Davidson’s message to children is simple—it is far better to power through the initial awkwardness of that conversation in order to achieve a greater piece of mind, both for them and their parents.

“Despite our denial, tomorrow always comes,” she says. “But what your tomorrow will look like and feel like will depend on how ready you are to embrace it. Caring for elderly parents can be very difficult for the adult child, especially when a crisis is what typically creates the need for a conversation about senior care. My hope is that people will begin to think preventively when it comes to anticipating that need, and creating a manageable plan to account for that moment.”

The key parts of the equation for a successful discussion of eldercare with parents resides in each party’s recognizing the other’s primary needs.

“Your parents need to know that they can maintain control over what happens to them even when they need extra care,” she said. “Children can use this conversation as a way of giving their parents the opportunity to design their lives through the aging years, when they are healthy, and not clouded by the heightened emotions of a critical medical crisis that necessitates immediate action. Children can also express their need for peace of mind for when that time comes. The main benefit of having the conversation now, rather than later, is that children and parents can work out a plan cooperatively that addresses everyone’s needs, so that if a trigger event occurs, families can act fast to protect the ones they love in the manner that their loved ones have chosen.

 About Ali Davidson

As a former owner of an in-home care agency, Ali Davidson worked with seniors and their families for nine years. During that time she helped them negotiate the aging process with dignity and compassion. She developed training programs for her employees that ensured quality care for her clients and a better understanding of the needs of seniors. She is a certified Neuro-Linguistic-Programming Master Practitioner and has counseled individuals, couples and families through her private practice, focusing on communication, relationship and healing of old wounds. As a life coach for the past two years, she has helped clients in both their personal and professional lives to reconnect to their passion, reach their goals and live to their fullest potential.

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