Christmas. Chanukah. Kwanza – tis the season.
And sure, writes Katherine Gillespie in vice.com, getting together with relatives and receiving gifts has its perks, but you will have to talk with them. After all, she points out, “social convention has dictated we can’t just spend the day eating in peaceful, contemplative silence.”
Writing in the Huffington Post, psychologist Kellie Edwards recommends that families try hard to be mindful in their holiday conversations, practicing:
- sympathetic joy
- appreciation and gratitude
- good old-fashioned laughter
Holiday conversations can have a different meaning as well. Often, our Geyer Law attorneys have learned over the years, the holiday season is the time is when an increasing number of adult children are visiting aging parents. As the holidays approach, we sometimes want to tap every one of those adult children on the shoulder, saying “Notice!” Many of these adult children are unable to serve as caregivers for their parents, so the most they can do is observe the signs of mental or physical deterioration, making sure that care is being provided.
Sometimes, on a holiday visit, noticing means seeing the need to begin “the talk” about health care planning. The National Hospice Foundation has found that 75% of Americans don’t make their end-of-life decisions known to their families through either verbal or written communication; a Pew Research Center survey revealed that only 55% of adult children have talked to their parents about what to do if the parents become unable to live independently.
Since Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates is both an estate planning and an elder law firm, we know how crucially important those “talks” can be. And while the holiday visit itself may focus on sharing happy family memories and traditions, follow-up can include healthcare and estate planning decision-making.
Truly, “tis the season for joyful celebration – followed by some serious contingency planning….