Seems like everyday we hear that 40 is the new 30, 60 is the new 40, and 80 the new 60. Are we hearing this because we are living healthier and happier lives as we age, or is this a baby boomer coping mechanism because we are in denial about our aging bodies?
As you witness your parents entering their golden years, your own mortality will become more apparent. Those aches weren’t there when you were 30 and you didn’t need reading glasses to read about your latest health issue.
It was much easier when your parents were looking out for you. It gave you a sense of security and timelessness. But now it’s up to you to look out for them whether they agree or not.
But to do so properly, you must first accept the inevitable – you too are aging and you can’t stop it.
They’ve suspected this for a while but it’s easier to stay in denial when nobody is looking out for you. Just like you, they have fears and desires; they want a good quality of life that includes family (you) and friends.
You want to help but you’re scared. You have your own life, and you may even be asking yourself “What’s in it for me.” While this may seem selfish, it’s normal to have these feelings. But these feelings will lead to guilt and angst if no action is taken.
Having open communication and growing older together in this phase of your lives is ideal. However, you can’t just announce this revelation to your parents. You have to ease into it. You may even have to lead by example.
You know that being proactive and putting systems in place can help reduce and even avoid crisis. So why not start doing your own age-related planning? As you learn, you can share with your parents and bring them into the fold.
When they see what you are doing, they may start to take interest and even take action themselves. With their interest piqued, it will be much easier to have conversations around the topic of growing older, together.
Putting your legal documents in place is a good starting point. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, a living will, medical and financial power of attorney, and a last will and testament. While putting these documents in place seems complicated, what better place to start?
Imagine the conversations that will occur when you say, “Hi Mom, I’m thinking about creating a living will. Do you know anything about this?”
As these conversations bond you together towards a common cause, the time you spend together will enrich both of your lives. You will become empowered to age together successfully with your parents.
Are you and your parents aging together successfully?