By Sally Maddox, Certified Concierge Care Advisor

Thinking about what you want retirement and end of life to look like is an active process.  It can be a difficult conversation to have with your children, and for adult children to have with their parents.   Encourage being verbal, active, and planning as well as educating on how to get there.  Start conversations, create relationships and connections that are trustworthy.  These are tough topics to think of, yet alone to actively talk about.  It’s helpful to have someone to talk with who isn’t biased.  Someone who will think of safety, care needs, thriving and help on the financial side.  This might be a friend, a relative, or a professional.  There’s so much to navigate and help is out there in many forms.

I grew up in the 70’s, lived with my grandparents, my aunts, and other single moms.  There was a space for multi-generational families to live together.   Great grandma lived with my grandparents, and my great aunt lived just down the street.  Everyone pitched in to help take care of the old and the young.  My cousins were my babysitters and as I got older, I became the sitter of my cousin’s babies.

My generation is watching our parents live longer, need care longer and thrive longer.  A plan for all three is great!  We’re the cross over generation, we’ll retire later and have the great responsibility of taking care of the baby boomers, our parents.  The days of mom or dad living with us are going away.  Both space and time is an issue with most.

The importance of talking about options and solutions in advance can make a tough situation a seamless one.  Speaking from experience, I dreaded having this conversation with my mother, but I bucked up and did it.  It’s needed to honor the wishes of our loved ones.  Being able to be the advocate for them and knowing exactly what they want is an amazing gift.   Being the caregiver isn’t always the form that advocacy comes in.   Being the one to love them is the most important role you have.