Discussing Dementia with Healthy Parents

Posted on March 24, 2011 by Michael Corley, consultant with The Patterson Foundation

My in-laws recently spent a week with us. It was a wonderful visit as they are very active and in good health. We are very fortunate.

However, they live in another state and none of my wife’s siblings live close to them. Therefore, I couldn’t help but think about them in 20 years. What will happen? Statistically, one of them will have dementia by then, and without family close by, this could be a very difficult situation.

This is a gut-wrenching thought, but it is reality.

So what can and should be done now, if anything?  In speaking to people and in reading the literature, I learned that we should  have a discussion with our older loved ones about their health, what their wishes are, etc.  Under the heading of “EASIER SAID THAN DONE,”  I am not sure I feel comfortable raising this issue.

Now I think about my parents.  As I have previously blogged, what am I going to do when I get the call?  I don’t know, and I am not sure a conversation now would be fruitful. Would they even want to discuss this?

I know things need to be done prior to a diagnosis. In fact, www.videocaregiving.org gives some insight into how to approach these tasks and have these conversations. Still, it is not easy.

I don’t have any answers to these questions, and by way of this blog, I am seeking advice from the experts.  How would you approach this topic?

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