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The 40/70 Rule - It's Time to Start Talking

1:57 PM, Apr. 26, 2013  |  Comments
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As the population of the U.S. continues to age, more and more families are faced with difficult issues involving aging parents. There are many topics that should be discussed with loved ones as they get older; topics that can be difficult to handle and difficult to talk about.

There are many different scenarios that can play out as parents age.

What does a grown daughter say to her dad when he gets into a minor car accident?

How does an adult son ask his mom if she's taking her pills every day as she should?

How do siblings approach their parents when it becomes apparent that they need some help at home?

These are all issues that can be challenging, even for families with open lines of communications. Because they can be tough topics to tackle, many families avoid these crucial conversations often leading to unresolved issues.

Being proactive in having conversations regarding subjects such as driving, medications and health concerns is healthier than being reactive. A good rule of thumb to broach a "touchy" topic is to start with The "40/70 Rule."

The "40/70 Rule" is really about helping adult children and their aging parents deal with the sensitive topics that can be difficult to talk about. It's a simple concept. If you are 40, or your parents are 70, it's time to start talking; at least start the conversation about some of the topics that are relevant for most seniors.

If you're having trouble initiating this type of conversation, here are a few tips from the "40/70 Rule":

? Talk it out. Initiate the conversation. You may find that your parents were thinking the same thing, but didn't know how to approach you about it.

? The sooner the better. Talk now, rather than having to address an issue like deteriorating eyesight and driving after a crisis has occurred.

? Talk adult to adult. Your parents are aging and may not be able to do some of the things they did in the past, but they are still adults. Don't treat them like children.

? Think about independence. Be sure to always consider the options that provide the most independence. Consider their strengths and look at options for areas that may be a problem.

? Seek help. There are many resources in the community such as senior centers, agencies on aging and programs that provide in-home assistance.

In dealing with an aging parent, it's important to be observant and always consider what factors may be influencing the situation. Avoid jumping to conclusions. Carefully consider various options and look for a solution that everyone can live with.

For more information or a free "40/70 Rule" booklet with examples of how to start these types of conversations, please call (920) 965-1600.

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