COVID brought us many things – most of which we may not wish to replicate, ever.
But COVID has also provided us some opportunities for lessons that wise families with older members will want to take to heart, and thereafter, to act upon.
The lessons? We learned about the vulnerability of our seniors especially in facilities and the impact of those deaths and serious illness was felt deeply not only by seniors but by all of us who loved them.
We learned that isolation and loneliness can be as heart-wrenching and devastating in many cases as the illness itself was.
We learned that safety isn’t assured in spite of expensive insurance, costly facilities, good intentions or even self-isolation.
We learned that crisis planning, as so many of us were forced to do during COVID, doesn’t work.
We could therefore be learning the value of creating a family’s best possibility for meeting and defeating disaster: create a family POPteam now in order to make and tweak useful and relevant POPlans: what are they and why do we need them?
Those of us involved in the extraordinary, demanding and wonderful part of our lives where we are “Parenting Our Parents,” or doing POP, recognize that “successful aging” involves an ongoing series of expected and planned-for events which require planning ahead. “POP” is the phenomenon of millions of men and women worldwide in their 30’s 40’s, 50’s, 60’s who find themselves engaged in a new form of “parenting,” caring for those who cared for them, often just when they thought they’d finished with parenting.
There are numerous challenges – health, financial, social, legal, practical and even spiritual challenges – that families will need to solve sooner or later and by doing so together, they can maximize the best results. When smart people see challenges, they get good information and they get the best team together to make plans to meet and attempt to defeat those challenges.
POPlan is the name for the Plan that caring and concerned families will make before there is a crisis and update whenever the current POPlan hasn’t taken into account changing needs.
Maybe your senior parent needs guidance on retirement, moving closer to you or into a smaller home, help with complicated family finances or the seemingly simple task of grocery shopping. And, as the years pass and life presents its ongoing changes, these POPlans will need to be updated and amended.
Any POParent who’s had to respond in a crisis without a POPlan has learned that crisis decision-making is often wholly inadequate and never the best choice. Although we won’t be able to plan for every emergency – and no one could have foreseen this specific virus – we can begin to meaningfully meet the challenges of our aging loved ones by talking together, thereby creating a POPteam to POPlan for the predictable events and beyond.
Many families find it hard to begin to know what to do, where to start. Often families want to help but don’t know how, they may fear being misinterpreted, or maybe they can’t get by old sibling rivalries so they continue to avoid talking and planning about their aging loved ones.
With professional help – such as is uniquely offered by our Certified POP Family Coaches – families can learn how to become a working team and transform these real life challenges into a Journey of Love. And, after all, isn’t that the goal?
Now, as we’re watch COVID becoming less of a threat, this may be the perfect time for you to take the steps: discover how and when to begin having these crucial family conversations; become a great, working team; and learn how to respond to what’s happening ahead quickly and effectively.
Let’s all use the lessons we can learn from COVID to minimize the challenges of the winter years for those you love who cared for you so you and they can share their best years ever.