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    By Linda LaPointe, MRA
    Home For The Holidays:  Avoid Aging Parents Becoming A Burden

    By not planning for the future we guarantee that we will leave our children with a tremendous burden. Just about the time they are preparing for their own retirement and their children's college education, adult children often are overwhelmed with decision-making for their aging parents.

    As a long term care administrator I heard it daily, “I don’t want to be a burden to my children.” But unintentionally most of us make it even harder for our children by not clearly defining our wishes or preferences. We can help them out by asserting control over our future health care, residential choices, and even how we will die. There are specific and discrete steps we can take to shape our own destiny. Many of these tasks only take a few moments of your time, some take a little research and others may require professional assistance. None of them are extremely costly or difficult.

    So why don't more of us do this type of planning?

    Seniors are concerned about losing control of their life and being a burden to their grown children but many just don't know what to do. For instance, the majority of people want to die at home, but very few do. Become familiar with your options and make your preferences known while thinking clearly, while free from pain and prior to an emergency or crisis.

    The loss of a parent is difficult enough for an adult child. We can save them additional grief by doing the following,

    • clean house: get rid of all the worthless clutter and unimportant stuff
    • prepare and organize those important papers and throw out the unimportant ones
    • prepare advance directives and tell others what they contain and where they are located
    • make our own funeral plans and ensure there are sufficient funds to pay for it
    • leave our legacy through writings, photo albums, heirloom assignment and recording of family stories

    You can avoid becoming a burden to your children by taking control of your end of life with as much care, intent and forethought as you have lived the rest of your life.

    Linda LaPointe, MRA is an ElderLife Matters coach and author of several products to assist families experiencing aging including the pamphlet, Don’t Be a Burden: 100 Tips. Get free articles and information at

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