Game Plans for Work & Life

Life Planning Specialist

Relationships…The Tie That Binds

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Note from Joyce:  You’ve celebrated and renewed for 2011.  Now it’s time to put your good intentions to action!  Over the coming weeks, we’ll continue delving into many life dimensions with a new topic each week where you can consider the topic, answer questions pertinent to you and take appropriate action where feasible.  Let’s launch by looking at RELATIONSHIPS.

RELATIONSHIP INSIGHTS: Whether you’re living as a single person, as a couple, with a Brady Bunch, or in a divided family situation, inevitably a discussion will rise related to parenting, possessions, Wills and important documents, end of life matters, or what happens when challenges hit: sickness, disability or death.  These discussions often spark differences in opinion.  What matters most is to have an honest conversation vs. exploding into a family argument. It’s important to discuss how you feel about particular situations and consult a mediator, eldercare lawyer or estate attorney, depending on your needs.     

In addition, consider the changing nature of relationships between adult children, siblings, extended family members, challenges of long distance, how is care for elders divided among adult children, and ways to build intergenerational bonds among extended family. 

We can’t forget the sandwich generation which sees many Boomers facing the challenge of caring for both adult children and aging parents.  These Boomers may be single – living solo or with another person(s)-or have a teenager or an adult child at home.  What are your considerations about having a family member move in with you?  What preparations might need to be made before they arrive?

This is the tip of iceberg and as we chisel away, additional topics quickly surface:  grandparents raising grandchildren, accommodating different generations under one roof, worries about aging parents, and coping with loss of loved ones.

If most of us want similar things which is to be valued, respected, welcomed and loved, how will you ensure that feeling with your friends and family?   

QUESTIONS:
What issues, regarding relationships, must I think about before discussing with family or friends?
What conversations are important to have in the near future and with whom? 
Do I anticipate difficulties having the above discussion and how can I better prepare myself?
What family stories, traditions and legacies do I want to pass on to future generations?
What have I learned about relationships that can guide me in the future?
How can I guide my children so I don’t lose my sense of “self?” 

FOLLOW UP:

A few excellent sources for information include The Caregiver’s Survival Handbook: How To Care for your Aging Parents Without Losing Yourself  by Alexis Abramson Perigee Books 2004; The Gifts of Caregiving by Connie Goldman Fairview Press 2002;  Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate www.yellowpieplate.umn.edu; Adult family conflict resolution   www.elderdecisions.com

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