2013-01-10 / Lifestyles

Senior Center

It is important that families have candid, open discussions with their older loved ones about plans and goals surrounding long-term care, end-of-life and other age related issues. But getting these conversations started and making them productive can be real challenging.

I will be the first to admit I don’t want to admit my age and I fit in this category.

As we get older, we may resist these talks because we think it’s too early. Anyone under the age of 75 most likely does not consider him or herself “old.” After all, we say 70 is the new 50. But memory impairment, broken hips, heart conditions and the need for care are common realities older people and our families must confront. Or it may be we avoid the discussion because we still picture our parents in their primes….until it’s too late and the stark reality of crisis catches up with us.

We may also avoid these conversations simply because they are unpleasant. Few of us want to face the gradual loss of independence associated with aging, let alone discuss the cold details of our funeral arrangements.

That is why these talks are often referred to simply as “the tough conversation” in the senior living world. The denial of difficult truths, or at least resistance to discussing them, can make talking about current and future needs challenging unless you engage early and often in thoughtful, respectful exchange of ideas about longterm care and end-of-life matters.

During the holidays families get together with loved ones after not seeing them for a while. They may notice changes that raise red flags indicating that maybe they need to start having a conversation with mom or dad about what they want for the future.

I would like to share six tips about how to approach tough conversations with aging loved ones, whether they occur around the holidays or any other time of the year:

• Explain your concerns specifically and clearly without unnecessary euphemisms or dancing around the issues and remind our loved one your concerns come from love.

• Imagine the roles are reversed and you are the elderly person. How would you want your loved ones to address you about their concerns?

• Reassure them you will be with them through thick and thin, and you have their best interest at heart before anything else.

• A sense of loss of independence is one of the biggest causes of distress in these situations. Make it clear the purpose of your conversation is to clarify their wishes about the future, not to force some already made decision on them.

• Some older parents may expect one of their children, perhaps you, to take care of them in their old age, regardless of circumstances. Let your parent know now if this isn’t a realistic expectation because of your own needs or obligations.

• It’s easy for conversations such as these to become mired in abstractions or vague promises to talk about it later. Make it a goal to come away with some clear takeaways in terms of your wishes or expectations.

Taking it from experience, I encourage you to not just think about doing it, make it a goal!

Community Action Agency has funds available to assist low-income families with deliverable fuel. Deliverable fuels are LP gas, fuel oil, wood, coal and wood pellets.

The basic guidelines to qualify are:

• One person in the household $1,909 per month

• Two people in the household $2,497 per month

• Three people in the household $3,084 per month

If you are low on fuel and need some help, please call Don Tyrrell at 341-2452 for more information.

A great big thank you goes out to FutureMark Manistique for the continuation of the paper recycling program. The Center recently received a check for $55.50. If you have magazines you would like to donate to the Center they can be dropped off Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. You can leave them in the hallway or put them in our recycle bin by the coat rack.

A monetary donation has been received in memory of:

• Dick Berger from Irene Hinkson, Chum and Peggy Ruggles, Ed and Jane Leonard, Elaine Hartman, Peggy Beckman, Anne Landers and Carol Sinnaeve

• Frances Hoar from Louis and Rita Salter

• Viola Salter from Louis and Rita Salter

• Darlene Welch from Judy McEachern

• Dick Sobieski from Ardell and Agnes Gardapee

• Robert Lasich from Jack and Helen Creighton

• Robert Videtich from Jack and Helen Creighton

• Nick Frankovich from Phyllis Frankovich

Maintenance and support donations were received from Doris Martin, Laura Lee Tegtman, Peter and Andrea Colwell, Donald and Roberta Smith

BRIDGE Dec. 14: 1st-Sarah Bignall, 2nd-Helen Barton, 3rd- Larry Savoie, 4th-Ann Willcock, 5th-Lauris Barr, CFC-Joyce LaTulip. Hostess, Mary Lou Marx served meat and cheese, and candies.

BRIDGE Dec. 17: 1st-Larry Savoie, 2nd-Audrey Savoie, 3rd- Hanna Mammen, 4th-Ann Willcock, 5th-Pat Flint, CFC-Rosie Krall. Hostess, Sarah Bignall served cookies.

BRIDGE Dec. 28: 1st-George Lowman, 2nd-Larry Savoie, 3rd- Helen Barton, 4th-Nancy Brown, 5th-Carol Hough, CFC-Pat Flint. Hostess, Ann Willcock served assorted cakes.

BRIDGE Jan. 4: 1st-Hanna Mammen, 2nd-Helen Barton, 3rd-Patsy Calhoun, 4th-George Lowman, 5th-Lois Bellville, CFCMary Lou Marx. Hostess, Hanna Mammen served assorted cookies.

PINOCHLE Dec. 19: 1st-Cathy Wise, 2nd-Nancy Casey, 3rd- Peggy Beckman, Should’a Stayed Home-Carol Shampine.

PINOCHLE Jan. 2: George Shampine, 2nd-Nancy Casey, 3rd-Cathy Wise, Should’a Stayed Home-Chris Keener.

500 (No Date): 1st-Don’a Nelson, 2nd-Carl Sundling, 3rd-Nancy Casey, Should’a Stayed Home- Ruth Jones.

500 (No Date): 1st-Chris Keener, 2nd-Nancy Casey, 3rd-Bill Keener, Should’a Stayed Home- Carl Sundling.

Birthdays this week: Jan. 10-Natalie Olson and Lois Hoholik, Jan. 15-Bob Barr and Anne Lander, Jan. 16-Jean Anthony, Bob Carlson and Madolyn Eberts, and on Jan. 18-Pete Olson, Zella Barcome, and Betty Danko. Happy birthday wishes to all.

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