Kindness in Business vs. Money

“Getting money is not all a man’s business: to cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the business of life.” ~ Samuel Johnson

Stubborn Aging Parents Who Won’t Talk About Finances: Breaking Through Resistance

a repost from Forbes

Most of us have tried to have conversations about finances with aging parents. Some stubborn parents just won’t do it. No matter what their adult children say, they put it off, change the subject or tell their offspring it’s none of their business.

Here’s a real life example:

Michele, 60 is trying to get some very basic information about her mother’s accounts so she can help her mother when the time comes. Her mother, Eva, is 85, a widow, lives alone and has been secretive all her life.

Michele is her only child and she cares very much about her Mom, always trying to protect her as she ages. But Eva won’t budge. She lives across the country from Michele and is not willing to move closer to her daughter. When Michele brings up the reality that Eva has no other family to help her and if an accident happened, Michele wouldn’t even know where to find the checks to pay bills, Eva says they can talk about that later. She’s not ready yet. Michele is feeling lost now. She doesn’t even know what to say next. Why is Eva being so difficult? It’s just not rational.

Most of us have tried to have conversations about finances with aging parents. Some stubborn parents just won’t do it. No matter what their adult children say, they put it off, change the subject or tell their offspring it’s none of their business.

Here’s a real life example:

Michele, 60 is trying to get some very basic information about her mother’s accounts so she can help her mother when the time comes. Her mother, Eva, is 85, a widow, lives alone and has been secretive all her life.

Michele is her only child and she cares very much about her Mom, always trying to protect her as she ages. But Eva won’t budge. She lives across the country from Michele and is not willing to move closer to her daughter. When Michele brings up the reality that Eva has no other family to help her and if an accident happened, Michele wouldn’t even know where to find the checks to pay bills, Eva says they can talk about that later. She’s not ready yet. Michele is feeling lost now. She doesn’t even know what to say next. Why is Eva being so difficult? It’s just not rational.

Elderly Parent What’s underneath all that stubborn refusal when parents rebuff your reasonable efforts to get the basics about finances from them? 

It’s fear. Many elders are truly afraid that as they get older and feel less capable than they once were someone will come along and put them in a home. Physical and mental changes happen to them. They don’t want to be put away because of these things. “A home” in their minds is a dark poorhouse, where old people are forced to go, like a sort of prison. They will lose control over their lives. No wonder they are afraid. Breaking through that fear, much of it based on lack of information, requires understanding and strategy.

Many older people have fear of being put in some horrible place because it happened to people they knew growing up, in the days before Medicare and Medicaid. Things are different now, but an elder’s knowledge of options as they age may just not be there. If you have an aging parent who refuses to tell you what she has and where to access it, you need to have a plan. Here are three things you can to do help yourself break through their resistance.

  1. Address the fear head-on. Give it a voice. You could say, “Mom, I know you might be afraid that if you tell me about your finances, you’ll have your independence taken away, or that I’ll take advantage of you”. That invites the older person to talk about their emotion around money. Many elders are not in the habit of talking about feelings and may have little vocabulary about emotions. They grew up in the Depression, when keeping a stiff upper lip and surviving were the focus. Expressing fear may have been considered weakness. If you respectfully invite the conversation they have an opening.
  2. Provide predictability. Let your loved one know that you are now going to start calling regularly, which might mean monthly, weekly or daily depending on your situation. Consistency and predictability of your actions helps build trust. It lets your aging parent know that you care and are willing to help. Bit by bit, the talk about financial matters may be created in these contacts. Predictability from you removes some of the fear of the unpredictability of the future in your parent.
  3. Make concrete suggestions about how to deal with a health crisis, emergency, or loss of independence from a fall or stroke. Bring up the “what ifs”. Do some research into adult day health, home care and assisted living facilities in your parents’ area. Find out the costs. Offer your perspective. Visit. Bring it up and ask if they ever decided to make a move to one of these choices, how they might pay for it.

Getting past a stubborn aging parent’s fear about even discussing finances can be daunting. But a well planned strategy in how to approach the subject will give you your best chance.

Carolyn Rosenblatt, RN, Elder Law Attorney,

Healthy aging and protecting our elders, AgingParents.com, AgingInvestor.com
Carolyn Rosenblatt, RN, Elder Law Attorney, Healthy aging and protecting our elders, AgingParents.com, AgingInvestor.com

From Forbes

Arbitration Agreements in Nursing Homes?

Arbitration has been a hot topic lately.

“This is an important issue – no one should be faced with the “choice” of forfeiting their future right to take legal action for abuse or neglect when they are signing a nursing home residency agreement.” ~ Marybeth William, National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

Legislators, coalition bash binding arbitration agreements

Letter

The Greatest Gift

“Make a gift of your life and lift all mankind by being kind, considerate, forgiving, and compassionate at all times, in all places, and under all conditions, with everyone as well as yourself. This is the greatest gift anyone can give.” 

— David Hawkins

Compassion and The Purpose of Life


“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


IMG_5591

History’s social entrepreneurs

Leading Change - Social Entrepreneurs

Hospital-wards-Florence-N-016Identifying social problems and finding innovative, progressive solutions is at the heart of social progress. Instead of being a new buzzword, social entrepreneurship should be understood as an age-old concept that is an enormous driver of human progress.

Since the industrial revolution, our economic progress has accelerated at a rate unseen in previous centuries.

According to economist William J Baumol, per capita income in Europe rose 20-30% in the 1700’s, 200-300% in the 1800’s and an astonishing 700% in the 1900’s.

But our social development has not risen at the same rate.

Despite this new wealth, and the shift of large numbers of people into a broad middle class, the divides between rich and poor have deepened.

Step in our social entrepreneurs who are the catalysts for both social and economic change.

These are the people who are driven by a social mission to achieve change – but their solutions…

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Mother Teresa Quote

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” ~ Mother Teresa

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The purpose of life is not to be happy.

It is to be useful,

to be honorable,

to be compassionate,

to have it make some difference

that you have lived and lived well.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson  

Speak the Truth

“If one cannot speak their truth, and be their own truth, then what is life beyond an unbearable lie?”

— Bryant McGill