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October 7, 2011

Seniors Should Communicate Wishes (CANADA)

By Frank Matys
Oct 06, 2011

ORILLIA  -
Communication with family is key to avoiding hardship and heartbreak as seniors age, a local audience heard recently.
Making known your wishes regarding medical care and other issues that may arise later is healthy for parent and child alike, says Inga Thompson. 

"If you know you are struggling with something, put it out on the table," said Thompson, Central East regional consultant for the Prevention of Senior Abuse Network Simcoe County. "Be proactive."
A voluntary network with representatives from agencies across the county, the organization raises awareness of elder abuse and measures to prevent it.

Orillia SALT (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together) Advisory Committee hosted a presentation by the group at the Royal Canadian Legion.
Thompson focused on a range of issues, including the challenges seniors and their loved ones can face when a serious medical condition such as dementia arises.
"You can have a caregiver who becomes abusive because they are frustrated or you can have a senior who lashes out," she added.

Broaching such subjects early on, before those problems emerge, can help ease the burden later.
Thompson encourages people to use the so-called "70/40" rule when deciding whether to have those discussions - discussions that grown children may be reluctant to have.

In other words, if you are 70, or your child is 40, "you should talk to them."
Subjects can run the gamut from how a parent wants end-of-life care handled to finances to "simple things like, you like tea rather than coffee," Thompson said. "If you have had a stroke and you can't talk, they should know that. Sometimes your friends know more about you than your kids do."

Thompson stressed that decisions should always be made in the elderly person's best interest.
The next Seniors Safety event takes place Oct. 27 at the Legion at 1 p.m.
The topic is accident support services: what you need to know about car accidents and collision reporting.


SOURCE:      The Simcoe
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