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  • Writer's pictureLaurie Bell

Time Spent with Family - Have You Had “The Talk”?

As many of us have spent time with family over the Holidays it can be a time for reflection and it can, for some, be time for “The Talk”. I’m not referring to a safer-sex talk with your kids or indeed your aging parents.  I am talking about an exploration of what comes next as we get a little older.  What environment is going to best meet our #emerging #health and #mobility #needs as we #age? Are we going to feel #overwhelmed by losses that are inevitable or are we going to create our #future in a way that works for us?

I provided three complimentary consultations this week and each of these individuals is currently planning their next move.  Two of them have kids whose opinions they sought and, not too surprisingly, they have received different advice from each child. These new clients are doing well cognitively, if not quite so well physically, and they all want to do the best thing for everyone involved.  They just want to do it on their own terms and fair enough!  They are looking at their upcoming moves as opportunities to thrive and that makes everyone smile!

Not everyone approaches change the same way though. People often shy away from the unknown and anxieties sometimes kick in with a stronger grip with age.  As 2016 comes to a close it can be a good time to check in with ourselves and reflect.

If you are fortunate enough to still have your parents, they might be struggling with all kinds of challenges.  They may well be afraid of what’s coming down the pipe and, as we all know, fear can make people less easy to get along with… .

Of course we understand the importance of maintaining one’s #independence as long as possible.  If your parents have been living in a house or a #condominium for a few decades, do they still feel safe, secure and able to get around?  Or are Mom and Dad putting on a good show when you come over and then collapse with exhaustion when you go home?  My Mom, bless her heart, used to do that after she cooked and prepared for special occasions.  While no one wanted to admit it at first, least of all Mom, it was getting to be too much for her.  It was our turn to host the big family gatherings and, of course once we realized what was happening, we took over that role.  Sometimes even the most sensitive among us can be too close to be truly objective.

What about your parents’ neighbourhood?  Has it changed and do they still feel able to access supports? How about your own neighbourhood? Do you still have many friends there or have they moved on? Is your home still meeting your needs?

Are you or your parents determined to stay put?  What about exploring some space modifications to make things safer and more accessible in 2017?  What about getting some help to come in?  Or is it realistically time to explore the condo, retirement home or assisted living options that are available?

One key to maintaining our #independence as we age can be to make informed choices – before a health care crisis hits.  

A second key can be to share those #decisions with the people closest to us. For boomers, talking about our priorities – our hopes and our fears - might come a bit easier than for the generation that preceded us.  But these discussions, however difficult to begin, can leave us feeling that we are doing what others want from us if there is a #health care crisis. These discussions can also offer us an opportunity to think honestly about how our life might look down the road.

I recently worked with a lovely lady who is clearing out her #familyHome.  Her Mom is living with her now but the house that she grew up in remained exactly as it was – for two years.  Everything was neat as a pin but, like many of her Mom’s generation, lots of things were kept, just in case.  This lovely lady, like many of my clients, has assured her own kids that she won’t put them through the task of clearing out decades of accumulated stuff that really, no one in the family wants or needs.

Have you considered what you want as the New Year begins?  Is it the same as what you wanted ten years ago? Have you committed to any projects for 2017?   You know, we’ve just enjoyed a real estate boom in the Greater Toronto Area that has lasted for almost two decades and you might be in a better financial position than you believed you’d be in just five years ago.   Staying informed and exploring your options can make your choices for the future a lot easier - for everyone involved.

As we leave 2016 behind us and bring in 2017 I hope that we can all face the year ahead with #optimism and #confidence.  If there is a talk to be had I encourage you to begin the #conversation – whether that is with yourself, your significant other, your #parents or your kids.  

And the good news is, if there is a move in your future, you know an awesome Senior Move Manager who can help.

Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2017 from everyone at #Moving Seniors with a Smile Inc.!

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