In Necessary Conversations, the authors offer suggestions for dealing with difficult topics that need to be discussed as your parents grow older. Having these conversations prior to a crisis helps alleviate stress during a difficult time. Gerald and Marlene Kaufman, both family therapists, focus on 4 key areas in this book - finances, medical care, driving, and living arrangements. The book also includes helpful ideas for starting these conversations.
In this timely book, family counselors Gerald and Marlene Kaufman urge adult children and their parents to have direct conversations about the decisions that lie ahead as parents age. The Kaufmans suggest that families use their parents' retirement as the benchmark for having the first discussion about their parents' plans for the next phase of their lives. The Kaufmans point out that most families wait until they're faced with a crisis before having these conversations. The big questions facing aging adults are: 1. Where should they live as they become less able to care for a property? 2. How will they manage their finances so that they are as prepared as possible to meet their needs as they age? Are they ready to invite one or more of their children to become their partners in making financial decisions? 3. Are they ready to invite one or more of their children to become their partners in making their medical decisions? 4. How can parents and children work together in determining when it's no longer safe or wise for the parents to drive? 5. What end-of-life decisions should parents be prepared to make? What is the best way to have those discussions? Necessary Conversations is filled with stories and examples from many families, most with different life circumstances, but all facing these same issues. The chapters end with "Getting Started," a list of suggestions for action, as well as "Questions" for focusing on practical outcomes to the discussions. The book includes a series of exhibitsfrom a "Needs Assessment for Caregivers" to a "Medications and Supplements List" to a "Driving Contract and Checklist." A thoughtful and useful guide to a life stage that's often dreaded and muddled through. Gerald W. Kaufman and L. Marlene Kaufman have been family counselors for nearly 40 years. This book grew out of a seminar they were asked to lead with their adult daughter and her husband.
Gerald W. Kaufman was in private practice as a therapist for 34 years. He served as a consultant to nursing homes for 15 years. His Masters in Social Work is from Indiana University. L. Marlene Kaufman was a therapist in private practice for 24 years. Her Masters in Social Work is from Temple University. Both Gerald and Marlene dealt extensively with family issues in their practices, including aging and end of life. The Kaufmans have co-authored two previous books: Monday Marriage, Celebrating the Ordinary; and Freedom Fences, How to set limits that free you to enjoy your marriage and family, written with their two daughters. The Kaufmans have four children and 11 grandchildren.