Thanksgiving Message
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Kennelly & Associates!

thanksgiving-pic-150x150.jpgThanksgiving is a time for family traditions, and as families grow new traditions are often incorporated and old ones modified to recognize the changes in the family dynamics. Thanksgiving is a time to gather together to give thanks and share our blessings.

If mom or dad is experiencing health issues, a loss, or is having other difficulties, adjust your expectations before you arrive. Your concerns are mutual and even if you believe a relative or sibling is not handling things properly, this is not the time to address it. This is a good time to observe but this is not a time to act in any manner that is not positive, celebratory and consistent with the spirit of the gathering. You are not the only one concerned and no one needs conflict.

Prepare in advance to handle changes with grace. Spend most of this visit listening and observing, rather than criticizing or voicing your opinion.

If parents are declining, now may not be the time to add too many new traditions. Honor the old traditions. The patriarch or matriarch does not want to feel he or she is not recognized. You and the family can honor them and add new traditions at the same time.

If parents are suffering from cognitive issues such as Alzheimer’s, keep gatherings small and don’t expect older adults to remember everyone who attends the gathering. Testing the memory of impaired persons will only serve to increase their anxiety.

Don’t wait too long after the holidays to address your concerns. Call your parents to let them know how nice it was to see them. Ask how things are going now that the holidays are over and let them know you are available to listen if there is anything they want to discuss in regard to their home, long term plans or changing health. Get in the habit of making regular calls each week, as this will give you the opportunity to turn those calls into productive discussions about serious issues.

When addressing issues with siblings, have a conversation where you both lay out your best case scenario. Make sure you both take your parents’ views into consideration. If you get into debates with siblings, stop and ask yourself what the argument is really about. Are you really trying to keep your parents safe, comfortable and happy or are you just trying to be “right?”

Don’t hesitate to consult with experts. If mom and dad are exhibiting signs of decline and seem to be struggling with finances, household tasks or health issues, you may not be the most qualified person to help them. Family dynamics, sibling rivalry and parent-child dysfunction may actually exacerbate what is already a difficult situation for your parents. There are a number of experts who can help without the emotional liability. Financial advisers, care managers, social workers as well as many other specialists, are available to assist.

Please call our office, we can provide consultation and referrals.

 


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E-mail: jack@oprflaw.com



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