When we were young we thought our parents were indestructible. They played with us in the yard and on the floor. They climbed ladders and would clean out the gutters every fall. As we grew older, we became more indestructible and watched as our parents became more cautious and careful. Then we started having our families and children (their grandchildren), and we started realizing we were not so indestructible either.
Then the time came to have the serious talk with our siblings about our parents’ health. I remember when my brother, who is younger than me, called to say my father had a TIA (stroke). My world seemed to stop. I had to gather my thoughts and take a deep breath so I could continue on with our conversation and get all of the data. My concern was: How was he, and how was mom? After getting the data, making plans to go home, and realizing that all would be okay, I could start to relax.
Of course, when I got home and saw and spoke to my dad, I felt much better. There was no major damage, and he would be home in a few days, back running his company in a limited capacity in no time. Then I got the news that my mother was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. As time went along I started to realize that I was going to become a caregiver to both of my parents. I was going to move them from their home in Virginia to where I lived in Georgia.
What did I learn from this as I went along? I learned that having a conversation with my parents and siblings about what they wanted and what made sense was the best thing to happen. We put a plan together regarding financial issues, personal items, and their wishes.
Have you found out your parents’ wishes?