Decluttering, downsizing, professional organizer Toronto

How to Say It to Seniors

I’ve been working my way through the reading list for my Aging Specialist exam, and I wanted to tell you about a great book that really spoke to me and I think will resonate with you as well. 

How to Say It to Seniors™ by David Solie, takes a developmental framework to the common conflict prone process of senior transitions.  If you’re in the midst of working with your parent(s) I’ve got a few points for you to remember. 

First and foremost, your parent is in a developmental stage that is, in many ways, a 180 degree turn from where you are in your own life. In midlife we are forging ahead in our careers, we are involved in our communities, and we are working on “to do” lists that never diminish. We are in a hurry to get it all done. Our parents, however, are not. 

Often if feels like we are seeing a diminished capacity in their hesitation to make decisions that, to us, feels like now or never situations. We need to remember that that hesitation is part and parcel of their developmental stage. 

The senior years are a long journey into a loss of control. Seniors are losing their physical strength, their health, their peer group, their physical space, their financial independence, their very identity. It’s not surprising, therefore, that they dig their heels in when we ask them to make decisions that will hasten that loss. 

If we can work with them, allowing them to maintain control of their own life, then we can give them the gift of a good experience in the other development task that awaits – namely, determining what the legacy of their life has been. 

Seniors who can process this loss of control are able to create an organic legacy that leaves them feeling whole and happy. This legacy process is not optional; it gives the senior an active role in the future.  

For example, even if “everyone” knows the story of how Grandma stayed home with the kids and then started a real estate business all while baking great cookies, she likely sees her accomplishments entirely differently, in a way that her kids and grandchildren aren’t aware of. And everyone will benefit when Grandma gets the time and space to leave the legacy of her choice.

Check out my YouTube video review.

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