Back in 1998, my grandma was driving home from Cal Mart (her favorite grocery in Calistoga, Calif.), when she backed her Cadillac smack into the garage door. That’s when we knew something was wrong: the beginning of congestive heart failure.
After a few frazzled trips to California, my mom found the perfect place for Grandma to move into – Holladay Park Plaza Retirement Community – just down the street from where my mom lives in Portland, Ore. The only problem: Grandma would not and did not move; she passed away where she had lived for over 30 years.
Fast forward to 2013. It’s now my mom’s turn to deal with her own long-term care. At Thanksgiving, my sister’s family casually asks if she wants to tour Holladay Plaza Retirement Community. Her response: “Well sure, but it couldn’t be time for ME to think of that yet, could it? I’m only in my early 70s.”
This begs the question: When is the right time to have “the talk” about continuing care? The fact is, most people 65 or older will need some type of long-term care or assistance. So it’s good to talk with the family about what happens when the seniors’ health starts to fail, before a crisis forces the issue.
The problem is: having the long-term care talk is really hard. In a 2013 book titled The Other Talk: A Guide to Talking with Your Adult Children About the Rest of Your Life, author Tim Prosch points out that having the long-term care talk is akin to the “birds and bees” talk. Both conservations are awkward, dreaded and often avoided.
This week, Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary featured Prosch’s book, including a list of items that should be talked about, at the very minimum.
I’m now reading Prosch’s book myself and will give you my thoughts on that in an upcoming post.