Wicked Local: As the director of the Beverly Council on Aging and Senior Community Center, I am an advocate of finding a way to have “the talk” with our older parents, relatives or neighbors. In the past year, we have identified many vulnerable, frail elders in our community living in substandard situations. Often they are choosing to live in this manner because they have not made a plan, don’t have the resources, have some memory loss or simply no longer have the vigor to make and adapt to change. Some even view their adult children as the foe and remain steadfast in their unwillingness to alter their situation. In many cases through active communication and support a solution can be found that is best for the family and the elder. Sharing your concerns with your loved one is often the catalyst for moving forward.
In researching this article, I discovered some terrific resources for family members who know in their heart of hearts that it is time to have the conversation with their aging parents. Ellen Goodman, Pulitzer Prize winning Boston Globe columnist started the “Conversation Project” with a goal of making it easier to initiate conversations about tough end of life decisions.