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Nolan Elder Law and Estate Planning, LLC Blog

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ignorance is NOT Bliss!

Whoever said that ignorance was bliss was ignorant, at least as it applies to seniors and their care.

 

We are entering the time of year when families spend a lot of time together, possibly more time than they have since the previous year. Adult children will be visiting with their parents and in-laws over the various holidays from now until the Super Bowl. This will give the adult children time to watch Mom and Dad closely. It will give them time to examine their living arrangements and the condition of their homes. It will give them time to notice dents in the car, bruising that may indicate falls, forgetfulness that wasn't there last year and so on. It will give the kids an opportunity to glance over the bills and other mail that might be piling up and not getting the attention they deserve. In short, the next 60-90 days is the adult children's window of opportunity to spy on (in a caring way) your parents. Don't be ignorant about their physical and mental condition! Ignorance, that is, turning a blind eye to their condition, is not bliss for you or for them.

 

In many couples, one of the partners will often "cover" for the other's shortcomings. They might make excuses or finish a sentence for the other one. You have to realize that many seniors are deathly afraid of losing their independence, and they fear that, if they show they are losing physical or mental capacity, then someone will "put them in a nursing home". They overcompensate and cover for one another.

 

Rather than openly challenging your parents about what you witness, whether bad driving, bruising, inattention to bill-paying or maintenance around their home, try opening a dialogue with them about what they would want, say, 10 years from now. Do they want to stay there or do they want to move somewhere more suitable for seniors? What if one of them dies- does the other want to stay there or what? Raise questions rather than making accusations about their abilities. If it is their idea to move, for example, there is less resistance when the time comes.

 

In short, there is a right way and many wrong ways to deal with what you observe over the holidays. The right thing to do is to deal with it though and not ignore it. In these situations, ignorance is not bliss!


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