Gift of Communication Gift of Communication Gift of Communication Gift of Communication Gift of Communication

    adult children

    Does your Mom need Palliative Care?

    A very interesting article appeared on the front page of The New York Times in 2010. It was  about Dr. Desiree Pardi,  a leading practitioner of palliative care, one of the fastest growing fields in medicine. Palliative care is the counseling of terminally ill patients regarding their end of life choices. Unfortunately Dr. Pardi contracted terminal cancer and had to choose whether or not to receive palliative care herself. Ironically she chose not to, but rather decided to fight her illness aggressively until the end.

    Palliative care has become the standard practice of most hospitals in the country. It’s popularity is a backlash against the harsh, sterile treatment of patients at the end of life that had been practiced in so many hospitals. It stresses the relief of pain, and recognizing that after a certain point, aggressive treatment may prevent patients from enjoying what time they have left.

    Dr. Pardi chose to believe that her doctors underestimated her and that she could fight and win the battle against cancer. But she died a very painful death after extensive chemotherapy and other experimental treatments. She died before many of her colleagues could say goodbye and they grappled with her death. Some said she took the right course fighting her illness to the very end. Others said that she was in a state of denial and refused to accept her impending death.

    At what point would you recommend to your own parent that she receive palliative care? It is a very difficult decision and should be discussed prior to the time when a decision has to be made. Have you discussed your parent’s advanced directives with them, their health care proxy, their living will and their power of attorney?

    An excellent alternative to the traditional health care proxy and living will is the Five Wishes program. Each individual goes through a form which asks detailed questions regarding how they want the Five Wishes to be carried out. It is available through http://www.agingwithdignity.org

    Wish 1: The person I want to make health care decisions for me when I can’t make them for myself.

    Wish 2: My wish for the kind of medical treatment I want or don’t want.

    Wish 3: My wish for how comfortable I want to be.

    Wish 4: My wish for how I want people to treat me.

    Wish 5: My wish for what I want my loved ones to know.

    The form guides your parent through the decisions that have to be made in each of these areas. When s/he is done I suggest that you give him/her the opportunity to go through the form with you and discuss each area. You will be very glad that you did.

    =======================

    PERMISSION TO REPRINT:
    =======================
    Financial Advisors may reprint any articles from The Gift of Communication Blog in your own print or electronic newsletter. But please include the following paragraph:

    Reprinted from Bob Mauterstock’s The Gift of Communication Blog. Subscribe at http://www.GiftofCommunication.com  and receive Bob’s Family Meeting Checklist Guide.

    Legacy vs. Inheritance. Which is more important to your parents?

    The Allianz American Legacies Study found that baby boomers and elders view the concepts of legacy and inheritance differently. According to the study, a true legacy is a combination of emotional and financial elements, while an inheritance is purely financial. The difference between an inheritance and a true legacy is clear and distinct, though the terms are used interchangeably and there is little evidence of an agreed way to approach either. Boomers indicate they prefer to preserve their parents’ memories than receive a financial inheritance, while elders believe their boomer children are more interested in money.

    Elders are underestimating the importance of their non-financial legacy to their children. They mistakenly think financial assets and real estate are more important to their children.

    Thirty-nine percent of elders say it’s very important to pass along their financial assets or real estate to their children, while only 10% of boomers see that as a priority. Boomers think knowing their parents’ future wishes are the most important part of their parents’ legacy.

    Sixty-five percent of boomers say it’s very important that they receive instruction on how their parents’ wishes (about their family/death/estate) should be fulfilled.
    Thirty-five percent of elders say it’s their obligation to leave an inheritance to their children. Seventeen percentof elders feel their children are counting on an inheritance, but only 4% of boomers are. Twenty-two percent of elders with children feel they owe their children an inheritance, but only 3% of boomers feel the same.

    Have you had a conversation with your parents regarding the legacy they want to leave behind? Have you asked them how they want to be remembered? Are there traditions and family practices they want continued? Are their personal items that they cherish and want passed on to certain members of the family?  Are their certain charities or religious organizations that they want to be remembered by? You can open the conversation by asking your mom or dad, “How do you want the family to remember you after you are gone?” Then just sit back and listen.

    For more information on The Allianz American Legacies Study, visit http://www.allianzlife.com or contact Neil Grace at (202) 530- 4558.

    =======================

    PERMISSION TO REPRINT:
    =======================
    Financial Advisors may reprint any articles from The Gift of Communication Blog in your own print or electronic newsletter. But please include the following paragraph:

    Reprinted from Bob Mauterstock’s The Gift of Communication Blog. Subscribe at http://www.GiftofCommunication.com  and receive Bob’s Family Meeting Checklist Guide.

    What’s Important to Mom and Dad

    For the last few years I have been focusing a lot of my time and energy on helping baby boomers begin to communicate in a meaningful way with their elderly parents. As a financial adviser I saw too many situations where families didn’t talk about crucial issues until there was a crisis in the family. As a result I wrote a book entitled,  Can We Talk?  A Financial Guide for Baby Boomers Assisting Their Elderly Parents.

    I’ve also spent a lot of time doing research on what is really important to the older generation. I learned a great deal from Allianz Life’s work with elders. They engaged Age Wave to design a study of boomers and their elderly parents to find out how they dealt with important financial issues that impacted both generations. This study, The Allianz American Legacies Study, made some very interesting discoveries. Harris Interactive, who conducted the study, learned that boomers and their elders were very uncomfortable discussing the topic of leaving an inheritance but both generations embraced the idea of the parents leaving a legacy. They learned that families want to capture all facets of the elder’s life, including their family traditions and history, their stories, values and wishes..

    David Solie, in his book, How To Say It To Seniors, came to similar conclusions. He learned that two things are very important to seniors. First they want to stay in control of their lives as long as possible. Second they want to discover their legacy, that which will live on after they are gone. Control seems to slip away from them each day as they start to deal with health issues and their friends and colleagues slip away.  As they try to maintain control of  their lives, they become aware that they must also learn to let go. They begin to review their lives, look at what has happened over the years and assign meaning to these events. This “Life Review” continues almost daily. It is a relentless conscious and unconscious process that they are immersed in for the rest of their lives.

    How can you help your parents discover their legacy? When they tell you stories, pay close attention, especially when a story is being repeated several times. There is often an important message here. Appreciate the details of the story and listen to them carefully. Be alert to the values that the story describes. Ask open-ended questions such as, “I know how important Uncle John was to you, Mom, but I never realized how much his loss affected you, What was your life like with him when you were growing up?”

    In these conversations you’ve got to be patient and understanding. But if you listen carefully, you can help your mom or dad sort out their lives and discover what their legacy will be.

    =======================

    PERMISSION TO REPRINT:
    =======================
    Financial Advisors may reprint any articles from The Gift of Communication Blog in your own print or electronic newsletter. But please include the following paragraph:

    Reprinted from Bob Mauterstock’s The Gift of Communication Blog. Subscribe at http://www.GiftofCommunication.com  and receive Bob’s Family Meeting Checklist Guide.

    Seniors have dreams too!

    When we think of seniors, we envision them looking back over their past and savoring the experiences they had when they were younger. We forget that seniors have dreams, too, and often look forward to once-in-a-lifetime opportunities they haven’t been able to accomplish. As the recreational director of the Cheshire House in Connecticut, Sally Smith realized this and decided to do something about it. She formed Seniors Have Dreams Too.

    There are a few rules for seniors to qualify for these grants. The applicant must be 70 or older. Their income must be at or below the poverty level (in 2016 this was $23,540 or less annual income for household of one or $31,860 for a family of two.) They must be a U.S.citizen and they need to be referred by a community agency. Josephine Mastroianni is such a person. She had played piano by ear since she was 7 years old but had never had any formal piano training. Now at age 86 she is taking weekly piano lessons and loving it.

    There are other organizations around the country that offer similar opportunities. The Twilight Wish Foundation has 8 chapters in 7 states. To date they have granted 1275 wishes. These wishes include one given to Nora Baird, who had always dreamed about riding in a helicopter and at age 84 got the chance. Bruce Hammond, age 81, a World War ll Vet., had dreamed about going from his home in Cleveland, Texas to the World War ll Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Twilight Wish Foundation granted this wish. His son Russ said, “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen him cry. He was so thrilled and excited that he was choked up.”

    The Twilight Wish Foundation also has certain requirements for seniors to qualify. They must be at least 68 years old. Their income can’t be more than 200% of the poverty level (2017 – $23,760 or less annual income for household of one), and they must have a documented history of giving back to the community.

    Each of these organizations are looking for volunteers who want to open up a branch in their community or raise funds to grant the wishes of seniors. I can’t think of a better way for someone to make a real contribution to the lives of our older citizens. Let’s make their dreams come true.

    =======================

    PERMISSION TO REPRINT:
    =======================
    Financial Advisors may reprint any articles from The Gift of Communication Blog in your own print or electronic newsletter. But please include the following paragraph:

    Reprinted from Bob Mauterstock’s The Gift of Communication Blog. Subscribe at http://www.GiftofCommunication.com  and receive Bob’s Family Meeting Checklist Guide.

    The Wall of Love

    One of my very best friends and clients recently discovered that the breast cancer she had beaten 22 years ago had returned. She informed me that her doctor had discovered that the cancer had spread to her lung, back and bones and was inoperable and untreatable. She wound up in a rehab center after she broke her wrist in a fall. Her small but comfortable room had blank walls and one window with a view of the parking lot. When her daughter arrived she remarked, ”No way! It’s small. It’s bare and I thought I didn’t feel good here. I knew she didn’t.”

    So her daughter  decided to do something about it. She sent out an email to all her mother’s friends, family and former parishioners (she was a retired minister). She wrote,”I need your help. I want to fill the wall with all of you, The Wall of Love.” Her mother had remarked that she had lost connection with people. The daughter replied. “We need to remove that feeling by showing her that she is surrounded with love and support.”

    The response was amazing. Pictures started arriving from couples she had married, parishioners she had counseled, people she had worked with and children she had taught in Sunday School. Her daughter added some pictures from her and her husband’s past, their wedding pictures, vacation photos and other memorable events. Now all the walls are covered from floor to ceiling with pictures and artwork from all the people who love her. She commented, “I wake up in the morning , look at the walls and see my life.”

    When I met with her , she asked me if I would be a part of her memorial service. She  wants it to be a celebration of her life. She mentioned that she wanted everyone in the church to join hands and form a big circle of love. In addition she wants to have a special part of the service just for children. She told me she has her music picked out. I looked her straight in the eyes and asked her, “How do you want to be remembered? What is the legacy you want to leave behind?” She looked over my shoulder at the hundreds of pictures covering the wall and gestured. “This is my legacy. These people are my legacy.”

    Is there someone in your life, perhaps your mom or dad , who has lost touch with all the people who care about them? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you built them a Wall of Love? Surround them with all the pictures of people they have known in their lives, that they have touched or have touched them. Surround them with love.

    =======================

    PERMISSION TO REPRINT:
    =======================
    Financial Advisors may reprint any articles from The Gift of Communication Blog in your own print or electronic newsletter. But please include the following paragraph:

    Reprinted from Bob Mauterstock’s The Gift of Communication Blog. Subscribe at http://www.GiftofCommunication.com  and receive Bob’s Family Meeting Checklist Guide.