Aging

Celebrate Older Americans Month – 5 Conversations To Start

Older Americans Month Start these conversations with your aging parents

Conversations We Need All Need To Start

Avoiding conversations similar to the check engine light, winding road sign, or slippery when wet sign are never good ideas. Why then do we ignore the important questions about life and the transitions that are a part of it? Believe me life transitions will happen and I like being prepared. Making thoughtful and informed decisions is how I’m approaching my plan for aging. 

Celebrate

Older Americans Month Start these conversations with your aging parentsCelebrate Older Americans Month by starting conversations most
families avoid until there’s an emergency. During the next 31 days the goal is to begin the conversation, encourage family discussions, and then identify resources to help you plan for the future. My Tip: Start the conversation use this time to create family awareness.

Conversations

  1. Caregiving
  2. Driving
  3. Finances
  4. Last Wishes
  5. Sex

The topics I’ve chosen are taken from conversations I’ve had with students ranging in age from 65 to 99. The biggest barrier? Their adult children avoiding the conversation. Whether you choose a topic by picking from a hat or in alphabetic order, start the conversation. 

Connect

Beginning a discussion before an emergency enables you to connect with family members, friends, and resources to focus on quality solutions as opposed to crisis control. I suggest starting the conversation with your supporters. The individuals you rely on for advice. Test your thoughts and try some of these questions out.

I’m thinking about…

Have you heard…

Do you know anyone…

By starting the conversation you’ll begin gathering resources as well as identifying gaps in services and information.

Caregiving Conversations

First Lady Rosalynn Carter once said,“There are only four kinds of people in this world:

Those who have been caregivers;
Those who currently are caregivers.
Those who will be caregivers; and
Those who will need caregivers.”

You may also know from life experience need caregiving can happen at anytime. For example, a daughter who need help with childcare, a teen recovering from an accident helped by his grandfather, or a son helping a father after an illness.
Caregiving is a multi-generational conversation. As we age our needs may increase does your family have the resources to help aging family members? If not, who can help?

Caregiving Resources

Here is a list of national caregiving resources to use as you identify your family’s needs.

Aging Life Care Professionals: https://www.aginglifecare.org

Caregiver Action Network: http://caregiveraction.org

Eldercare Locator: http://www.eldercare.gov

Family Caregiving Alliance: https://www.caregiver.org

National Alliance For Caregiving: http://www.caregiving.org

National Council On Aging: https://www.ncoa.org

Aging expert and gerontologist Judi Bonilla is an advocate for empowered aging with over 15 years of experience in senior issues. She is a serial entrepreneur and has launched several startups including: Brain Fit Now! Encore 101 HQ, and We Get Around! The adult education startups emphasize “empowerment”– blending information, education, and actionable strategies.