One of the cornerstones of success is communication, whether it is with a parent, spouse, child, sibling, significant other, friend or healthcare provider. In life, particularly with regard to health issues, there are sometimes difficult choices to make. The more you let your loved ones know what you want to occur if you become ill, the easier it is to make decisions. Healthcare choices are challenging to discuss. We often dance around the topic and never truly get there.
Sometimes the person themselves will be capable of making the decision, but knowing you support them and understand it, is essential to the relationship. Even more crucial, is understanding what the individual wants to happen so you can make the right decision for them, if the person is unable.
The greatest gift that my parents have given their children is that we know their wishes. In light of this, whatever choices are made are theirs, even if we have to act on their behalf.
Essentially, they have continued with the parenting role in their later years, always trying to make life easier for their children. We know what they want and will be able to respect their choices, because they made them and we supported them with open and honest communication. This for me, is the greatest gift of all.
by Nancy Geller, LCSW, ACSW
Elder Care Consultant