l. I wish I had had more substantive conversations with them about the kind of care they would want as they aged, and especially where they wanted to live and the kind of situation that would best suit them. They lacked an ability to imagine a future life different than the one they were currently having, they couldn’t/wouldn’t see that things were going to get worse.
2. I wish we had agreed on and put in writing what circumstances would make it so they couldn’t drive anymore. More of an IF this happens, THEN this happens. ( If my parents had been even five years younger, this conversation might have been much easier, they could have kept their independence while gradually giving up driving with Uber. I honestly believe Uber could be, if it isn’t already, a real game changer for older adults. )
3. I wish I had set it up to have gotten their permission to have private conversations with their doctors BEFORE it was badly needed. It was way too loaded after the fact and more difficult to get.
4. I wish my brother and I had been able to set up power of attorney with or over them and their affairs while they were still mentally fully competent. This would have been challenging, but it would have spared us years of worry about the, at the time, real possibility that one of them would do something very foolish with their finances.
5. I wish I had recorded more video of them and interviewed them about their lives and our family’s history.
6. I wish I had risked their anger by being more insistent when it came to answers about their health. I was too often dismissed, both by them and sometimes by their own doctors. I worried more than I should have about embarrassing them, and things could have been done that might have increased their chances for a longer, healthier old age.
7. I wish I had been more patient, and taken things less personally. I shouldn’t have taken their forgetfulness or confusion as proof that they weren’t interested in me or my work and family.
8. I wish I had tried harder to keep them socially engaged with their friends.
9. I wish I had said, “I love you,” more than I did. Frustrated by their stubbornness, mood swings and rudeness, the words didn’t always come easily, but that is not an excuse.
10. I wish I had gotten myself more help as I went through this process. I am still wondering exactly what that would have looked like, which is one of the reasons I have created this website, to help people in this situation find, support and advise each other.