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How to Help Aging Parents Make Difficult Decisions

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Baby Boomers have been called the sandwich generation, often caring for their children and aging parents at the same time. Many people struggle to find the right way to talk with their aging parents about some tough family choices.

Many seniors resist a change in housing, even when they know they need to move. "It’s fear of going from a known to an unknown. You know the stores, you know the doctors, you know your neighbors. And then there’s the fear of the uncertainty of where you’re going. So what’s really behind it is not knowing what’s ahead,"Bruce Nemovitz says.

Nemovitz is a realtor and senior real estate specialist who helps families navigate the transition. He’s also the author of two books on the subject, the latest of which is called Guiding Our Parents in the Right Direction.

The process of moving older adults from the home that they've grown to love is long and difficult.For the past twenty years, Nemovitz has focused on the unique needs of seniors and their families making this transition. "This can't just happen overnight, this is quite a process, and if followed correctly it can be very successful," he says. "But going into it not knowing what you're doing can really cause a lot of family dysfunction and many other issues."

Communication is the most important thing to focus on regarding feelings, fears and practical issues, Nemovitz say. Once communication is open and positive, it can change the mood and conversation about transitioning into a new living environment. 

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Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.