Although elder care is such an important topic of discussion, many families have trouble talking about it.
During a recent online chat with Tim Prosch, who wrote "The Other Talk: A Guide to Talking With Your Adult Children About the Rest of Your Life," several readers had questions that didn't get answered. I want to address some of them.
Q: What do you recommend if your adult children don't want to have the other talk?
Singletary: A survey last year by More magazine found that 81 percent of adults said they want to help care for their aging parents. The survey participants felt that they owed their parents the "same type of physical, emotional and financial support they have given us."
We often complain that seniors shut down and don't want to share information about their wants and needs when they can no longer care for themselves. But it can also be true that your adult children don't want to face the issue either.
Maybe your adult children are just so busy with their own lives that they don't see the importance or urgency of having the discussion. Maybe having the talk means facing the fact that they may become your caregiver, and that can feel overwhelming, especially if they are concerned about the cost.
To get the conversation going, write your children a letter or send a short email or text laying out the major issues you want to talk about. See if this might open the door for a discussion. Then schedule a meeting. Avoid holidays or a special occasion unless that's really the only time you might see them face to face.
There's also a third possibility as to why your adult child or children don't want to talk. Your relationship may be fractured and there's some hurt that has to be healed.