Here is a reprise of a column from years past. In light of the tremendous response to our offer last month of forms to help organize personal information for possible emergencies, we suggest readers may add collecting and sharing such information to the opportunities of the season.
The holidays are an excellent time to build bridges of understanding and support between generations in a family. This is especially true for families who live further apart.
For the adult child, it is an opportunity to notice changes in their parents. Is Mom or Dad slowing down a little? Are they less involved in church or community? Are there signs of deferred maintenance on the house?
This isn’t about looking for problems. It is seeking opportunities to appreciate what is behind changes so we can provide support.
For retirees, now could be good time to share how difficult it has become to keep track of all the bills or that it’s getting harder to drive at night. If those big holiday feasts are becoming more exhausting, maybe the tradition can be passed on or shared. Cost, time and energy can be overwhelming when it comes to entertaining several generations of loving family. What comes as a surprise to many is that rotating the festivities not only divides the work but can multiply the fun as well.
With the present financial uncertainty, this may also be a good time to revisit holiday giving. In my family, we are talking about meaningful gifts rather than plentiful. That can mean making gifts or passing things along from one home to another rather than shopping and spending. Yankee swaps stretch out the gift-giving and the fun. Holidays can also be a wonderful time to pass down heirlooms or treasured tokens.
These are sacred days ahead for all of us. The joyous season brings our generations together like no other time of year. As we gather to share traditions of faith, memories, and the company of family and friends, we can also make new traditions and learn new ways to give and receive.
Aging in Place, it doesn’t happen by accident.