Talking with Aging Parents About Options

Dick Edwards: “Most older people don’t want to live with their kids. They don’t want to be asked because they don’t want to have to say no. Ask mom, ‘Mom, if you can’t live here, where might you want to live? How might you want to live?’ So kids, it starts with you.”

Joy Loverde: “Are you really cut out to be a caregiver in the long run? Do you know what you’re getting into? Also, how much can you realistically offer?”

Judy Tobias: “Now, my mother used to cut the lawn and she would dress just like that, in heels and a dress.”

Shirley Tobias: “I didn’t want to mess up their lives. I mean, they have a life and they can come and go.”

Judy Tobias: “It was a major decision at the time because she gave up driving. At the same time, she gave up her total independence. And she gave up her kidneys.”

Dick Edwards: “Seek first to understand, then be understood. And just sort of get a sense of their needs and how they’re perceiving this stage in life.”

“Mom, dad, we worry about you. Please understand that we want to honor your wishes. We want you to do what you want to do, but we also want you to know that we fret about it. We worry about your being alone.”

Judy Tobias: “We’ve got pictures of her where she’s absolutely gorgeous.”

“It’s all been a total process of, okay, what do we want, where do we want it, how are we going to change things?”

Joy Loverde: “To say, ‘Mom, I think we need to think about moving,’ and if you don’t know what the options are to present to her and you haven’t done your homework, then the first thing that she might go to is, ‘Well, I don’t need to go to a nursing home’ or ‘I don’t need that level of care.’ That’s because they just don’t know all of the wonderful options that are available.”