Study Finds Most Families Wait Too Long to Begin Aging Conversations

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Approximately 80 million Americans are currently avoiding the end-of-life discussion with their aging parents. It's a conversation about end-of-life wishes that can save families years of heartache, bickering, and even legal issues. Yet, millions are actively avoiding it, according to a Marist survey conducted for Home Instead Inc. Citing "being uncomfortable" and "procrastination" as the top two reasons they aren't having these conversations, survey respondents also indicated fear their families could have problems in the future due to lack of communication about topics such as finances and health. Based on the survey results, Home Instead Inc. gathered renowned experts to help make this potentially difficult conversation easier for families and today released the "40-70 Rule" program, including An Action Plan for Successful Aging.  

Given the severe consequences of waiting too long to have this critical conversation, if your parents are approaching 70 and you are approaching 40, you should have "the talk" about critical aging issues. It's what's known as the "40-70 Rule." The Home Instead Senior Care network is committed to raising awareness of this prime talking time and taking the conversation further by encouraging individuals and families to document their wishes. Resources, including videos, conversation starters, and aging plans, are now available at 4070Talk.com to help jump-start that dialogue.

"Too often, conversations about end-of-life plans are taking place in a hospital, after a health emergency has occurred. We're hoping to change that," says Molly Carpenter, Caregiver Advocate at Home Instead Inc. "The '40-70 Rule' resources from the Home Instead Senior Care network are free and provide the nudge many families need to start the conversation in an open, non-threatening environment."

Many senior care experts suggest that families have the conversation around critical end-of-life issues when the parents are near 60 and children are 30. Unfortunately, research indicates that 70 percent of conversations happen too late, being initiated by an event such as a health crisis or other emergency, which can increase the likelihood of family disputes. According to surveyed attorneys, two-thirds of these disputes that end up in court could have been avoided if end-of-life wishes were communicated and documented in advance.

Previous research conducted by Home Instead Inc. found that 31 percent of Baby Boomers said their biggest communication obstacle with aging parents is the continuation of the parent-child roles that emerged in childhood, making discussion of sensitive issues even more difficult. In fact, finances, living preferences, and driving are the three least talked about topics between surveyed adult children and their aging parents.

"Quite often, when it comes to certain topics, there is a noticeable gap between the wishes of the senior parents and their children," says Carpenter. "This is another reason why it's important to establish plans in advance so that a parent's expressed wishes are met."

 

Source: Home Instead Senior Care, 4070talk.com