Deciding where an aging adult will live out their final years, months, or days can feel overwhelming. Too often the decision occurs under the stress of needing to act quickly. Hence, the added pressure of feeling forced to do something comes into play. If you take the steps now to engage in this important conversation, it will not feel so forced later and if you are the aging adult, you will get to determine some things yourself.
Whether it is for you, a parent, a spouse, or another loved one, people usually have a variety of opinions to share and multiple people may want to be part of the decision-making process. There may also be a variety of needs to consider: from physical and mental health care, to emotional well-being, to locale of family and/or friend support, to just what feels good and right.
Have you talked with anyone about where you will live when you are no longer able to live in your home? What are the options? Who will be around to assist in that transition? When you are not able to make that decision, who will have the authority to make decisions for you? Have you fully discussed your wishes and concerns with the person who will decide for you? If two or more people will make decisions near the end of your life, have you all sat down and conversed about what that looks like?
Acknowledging these realities may feel devastating. Yet, being very clear about wishes now based on a myriad of scenarios may reduce hurtful feelings and misunderstandings later.
A mediator could support you and your loved ones in having this delicate and important conversation about senior living by providing a safe space where you may speak your truth, be heard, and create ideas for resolution.
Sherry Ann Bruckner, a mediator, conflict coach, conflict skills trainer, attorney, and educator, lives in Alexandria, Minnesota. For more than twenty years, people have benefitted from her guidance in times of conflict.