When elderly parents, and family members, are in denial…they often put aside and discard evidence pointing to urgent problems. They refuse to accept the real state of health. And, they do not prepare properly and realistically for end of life.

Here are some issues to consider as we all inevitably age…

1.) Have your legal papers in order: Specifically, establish contact points with your elderly parents and family with a designated “Power of Attorney” (POA). Any hospital will request this document, but also the local bank and utility company. It establishes who can speak on behalf of an incapacitated adult.

2.) If family is not involved, then who? When family members are in denial, they can not advocate for elderly parents. This may get turned over to someone outside the family, which can create tension within the family…as well as a financial burden.

3.) Denial can escalate family conflicts. Differences, real or imagined, can produce arguments, tension, and frustrations. A split within the family means that some are picking up all the chores and responsibilities…while others refuse to help. Communication can become strained.

4.) Finances, including net worth and investments, are traditionally private matters. But if older adults are no longer mentally competent, these financials might be mismanaged and losses can result.

5.) Denial can lead to avoidance. And time is a finite resource. Which means family spends less time with elderly parents rather than more time. This is a lost opportunity to create family bonds and memories. Some small interaction may provide a lasting image and memory.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

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