We live our lives in connection to others – most of us in relationship with family members, significant others and “chosen family”. As life evolves these relationships can change, especially with siblings and parents. Issues related to aging parents may come on gradually – or sometimes suddenly.
We often put off having important “what if” conversations in our families. We may feel awkward opening discussions that we fear may be divisive or uncomfortable within the family, expecting to get around to discussing the issues in the future.
However the future often arrives on our doorstep as a crisis in the form of a health emergency, death of a parent, or changing family circumstances. Blended families, adult children with demanding careers, family members living at a distance and increased longevity itself can make these challenges even more complex.
Deciding to be proactive and have the courageous conversations with family before a crisis occurs is a powerful option. A facilitated family process, resulting in an action plan, can preserve the health of the family.
In working with families, I use an approach that lets each of you be truly heard – independently at first, allowing for individual views, concerns, fears, and preferences to be shared. It’s normal to have differing perspectives within a family, and this can strain family dynamics.
Most families face complex choices about retirement, wills, estate plans, and end-of-life decisions. Family businesses are often especially challenging. I facilitate a process tailored to your circumstances that allows your family to move towards creating a realistic action plan that addresses the issues you are facing. The process integrates any guidance you may have from financial, medical, or legal professionals. My role is to hear everyone’s perspective and concerns and to facilitate conversations that result in your family working together to create an action plan.
I chose to become a Designated Facilitator™ and Master Coach™ of the Essential Conversations Project® in order to help families with life transitions.
The Essential Conversations approach aligns with my values and professional strengths of respecting individuals and providing a safe communication process. It is important to me that everyone feels heard and empowered to be honest, as we work towards a plan that everyone can agree on. This inclusive process can increase peace of mind and prevent unnecessary family strife.
You and your family might want help to:
- explore and determine the best living arrangement options to deal with circumstances of aging or a limitation that requires a change-of-home-setting decision
- create a plan to deal fairly with issues around current use, or bequeathing of the family cottage, or other estate and legal will decisions
- explore options and develop a plan for caregiving or other forms of support as siblings and parents age
- have honest communication with family members or a spouse to ensure clarity regarding your personal healthcare and end-of-life wishes, including when there may be differing views within the family