Home Health Care News

The 70-40 Rule: Conversation Starters (Part 3)

Since your wife died, you’ve been very lonely. A few months ago you began a friendship with a widow from church and you’ve become very fond of one another. How do you tell your children?

First, relax: Chances are that your children will be very happy with this. Most of the time, adult kids are pleased when a widowed parents gets a new romantic partner. But they DO want to know what’s going on. So let them know. There are easy ways to gently break the kids into the idea. Just mention activities you’ve done with the person (“I went to see a movie yesterday with my friend Irene.”)

Your kids may not get the idea the first time, but once they’ve heard Irene’s name three or four times, they’ll figure it out. When you think they get the idea, let them know more clearly: “Irene and I have been seeing quite a bit of each other. I guess you might say we’re dating.” Try not to wait too long to make it clear; the kids won’t appreciate having a sense that something is going on, but thinking that you’re hiding it from them. And don’t spring the relationship on them as a grand surprise, particularly in a social situation that would be awkward for them, you and, perhaps, Irene. This is definitely something to share before a dinner party, not during it.

At age 70, you know you need to start thinking about end-of-life issues. Your children say you’re young yet and keep putting off the subject. How do you begin a serious discussion that your kids can’t ignore?

Remember, when it comes to end-of-life issues, you’re the key person. These are primarily your decisions and so you can go ahead and think about them without input from anybody. There are many resources that could help you put together something like a living will or advanced directive. You can produce it and give it to the children. That will force the discussion. If they disagree with what’s in the document, it’s up to THEM to initiate a discussion.

Appointing a power of attorney can also be a way to focus the discussion. If you want to do this, start with: “Judy, I know that stuff about dying is hard to talk about, but I am at an age when I really need to make some plans. I’d like you to have the power of attorney if I ever get into a situation where I can’t make decisions for myself. Would you be willing to help me by doing this?”

Home Instead Senior Care is an in-home health care provider located in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina serving individuals and families in the Myrtle Beach and Grand Strand area for over 11 years! We offer assistance to those in need for companionship, home help, personal care, short-term recovery, Alzheimer’s care, Respite care and many other services to make your life easier.

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