Newsletter September 2014

Well, although we’re sorry to see the summer go, we can now look forward to a beautiful autumn. This is an energized time as we return from vacations and the ease of summer into the sobering back-to-school and back-to-work season. For many of us, the summer is a time of families getting together for vacations or visits. For some, these are light-hearted times, while for others it’s a time to catch up with the concerns that families are facing. We talk below about some of the problems families are encountering and how our services can help families meet these challenges.

Enjoy what is left of summer and enjoy the changing of the leaves!

Gail and Ruth

Adjusting to Getting Back to School

The end of summer and the beginning of school can be tense times. Gone is the freedom of summer, and the anticipation of another school year can create tension in a household. This is particularly true when children have moved up the previous year and are entering a new school. And the case is usually the bigger the child, the bigger the problems. Whether parents are concerned about the transition to a new school or a return to the problematic behavior of previous years, we can help you get off on a good foot by helping parents and teens discuss their concerns for the new school year. When we reach out to schools, we explain that we would rather see teens and their parents before the trouble gets out of hand. Teens are known not to be the best communicators, but with a facilitated conversation, parents and teens learn how to communicate effectively and how to discuss issues and problems, such as truancy or failure to do homework. If you know of a family facing these problems, or potential problems, please let them know we can help.

The Baby Boomer Caretaking Challenge

October 1 is a day to Honor an Elder. One way of doing that is acknowledging obstacles to the care of aging parents. Usually the care of aging parents falls upon the shoulders of their adult children. This is the generation that is busy trying to work towards meeting the obligations of their children’s schooling or, if past that, are trying to work and save for their own futures. But a health or other kind of crisis occurs, and they find themselves trying to balance their lives with the added responsibility of taking care of aging parents. Caregiving is a difficult role and it often falls on the shoulders of one sibling who lives near the parent. In addition to the other responsibilities in their lives, adult children are often now, once again, dealing with siblings with whom they have not dealt in years, in order to address the issues of their aging parents.

We spent part of this summer talking to staff in senior facilities. We were asked to talk to them about our services. They can feel the tension, and hear the arguments, among siblings when they first tour the facility and are faced with the realities of a parent’s circumstances and see the reality of the changed living situation. Then there are the children of residents who place the staff in the middle of disagreements about Mom or Dad’s care, an impossible role for the staff as advocates for the welfare of the parent.

This is where we come in. As neutral third parties, not advocating on anyone’s behalf, we can bring the siblings to the table and guide a discussion about the issues facing the family so that the family is able to move past their initial position. We help get them get past their own disagreements so that necessary decisions can be made cooperatively And so they can construct their own agreement for a plan going forward. We help them break the impasse. Again, if you know of a family facing these circumstances, please let them know we can help.

Welcome back from your summer vacations!

Gail and Ruth
Talking Alternatives

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *