I wrote How To Say It To Seniors for adult children of aging parents as well as professionals who work with older adults. In retrospect, that was short sighted. What I failed to appreciate was that older adults were deeply interested in the psychology of their stage of life. They bristled against simply being a project or problem for their children to figure out.
When I finally realized this, I started giving copies of the book to older adults along with a simple question. “Does this ring true to what you are experiencing?”
The overwhelming answer was yes. Soon copies of the book with highlighted sections were being passed “downstream” from aging parents to their adult children. “This is what you need to know about me” was the message, which brings me to Dr. Herb Randall.
Dr. Randall sent me a copy of a letter he wrote his son and daughter after reading the book. It began “Dearest Son, Dearest Daughter,” and was an elegant and moving “what you need to know about me” communication between generations. It was published this year in Seniors Connections. Here is the link
The letter reminded me that having “the talk” isn’t simply about conversing upstream to a passive generation. Given the right information and environment, the downstream channel is just as important and available.