Oak Park attorney to offer tips on having end-of-life talks with aging parents

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By Community Editor

COURTESY MATT BARON

Navigating a conversation with a parent about end-of-life issues is difficult. As a result, all too many people never get the dialogue started.

On Tuesday, Dec. 16, local elder care attorney Ben Neiburger will equip individuals to overcome that passive tendency with a free presentation at Belmont Village Senior Living, 1035 Madison in Oak Park.

"Having The Conversation: A Heart to Heart Talk With Aging Parents" begins at 5:30 p.m. and lasts 45 minutes. Starting at 5 p.m., cocktails and appetizers will be served. In addition, Neiburger will be available to answer questions after his presentation.

Along with Lifecare Innovations and Elements, the cremation company, Neiburger has developed a number of "conversation starters" that are also available on his firm's website at http://generationlaw.com/ready-become-caregiver-cared 

"This isn't meant to be a script for every instance," Neiburger said. "But these are simple ideas on how to get the dialogue going. Maintaining your loved one's dignity is the most precious gift you can give when the end does come."

A pair of examples:

"Mom, I know I'm relatively young. But I just made this list of instructions for my wife and kids so they'll know what to do if I have a big medical setback or accident. What do you think? Would you write this same set of instructions, or would you do it differently?"

"Dad, I remember when Grandpa had his stroke. You had to make some pretty tough decisions and it all happened very quickly. If something like that happened to you or Mom, how would you have us do things differently? Is there anything you can tell me that would help me make decisions on your behalf?"

Neiburger, who recently helped launch a "Thinksgiving" campaign aimed at getting families to have the tough conversations about end-of-life preference, said that one of the biggest stresses that families experience is the decline and death of a loved one.

"How you prepare now will determine how well that stress is mitigated in the future," he said. "That preparation is at the heart of 'Having the Conversation.'"

An Oak Park resident, Neiburger's Elmhurst-based firm, Generation Law, focuses on estate planning and elder law issues. The firm is online atwww.generationlaw.com.

Belmont Village Senior Living, online at www.belmontvillage.com, provides independent living, assisted living, memory care services, and dementia care for elder residents. Belmont Village fosters independence whenever possible, and provides innovative programs to maintain health and well-being in body, mind, and spirit.

To RSVP for the Dec. 16 presentation, please call Belmont Village at 708-848-7200.

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