By William Summey, Content Editor for Legacy Arts magazine
Life Lessons from Coventry Edwards-Pitt, Author, Aged Healthy, Wealthy & Wise
I had the pleasure of interviewing Coventry Edwards-Pitt (Covie) on a day when I was particularly stressed about my parents. We live about 7 hours away from them, and I had recently flown home to visit when they both had doctor’s appointments. Because of the distance away, this was the first doctor appointment I attended with them in several years. Since that time, my father had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and my mom was recovering from hip replacement surgery. They both turn 80 this year, and their health needs were of concern more than ever.
My wife and I talk about moving to be close to them and quite often feel guilty for not being closer to be more involved in their care. But we both need to work at this point in our lives, and it is not easy to move without work. Plus, we have a son who is in 9th grade, very happy with his school and friends and another son attending college in-state, so we receive those in-state tuition breaks that we would not if we moved near my parents. So the question keeps arising, what do we do?
Many of you may remember Covie from a previous article in Legacy Arts that Covie wrote after the release of her first book, Raised Healthy, Wealthy & Wise. While sharing insights of positive parenting messages that worked, she began using the same approach to tackle how to have a fulfilling later life and conquer any challenges of aging. The results are part of Covie’s new book, Aged Healthy, Wealthy & Wise. I shared with Covie during our conversation about my parents and felt encouraged about where we are with them — even if not geographically close — because of how many conversations we had about their care, estate, and wishes for the future. I was pleased to see that the entire second half of Aged Healthy, Wealthy & Wise is about things that I can do to be proactive now: asking questions, bringing up conversations that are difficult, and keeping them engaged with friends, family, and technology.
The truth is that the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease was a wake-up call for my dad. Soon after his diagnosis, we sat down together, and he showed me all of the paperwork connected with his estate: from insurance policies to tax documents to financial statements to documents detailing the land he owned. He wanted me to know every detail in case something happened to him.
My mom is not involved in the ongoing finances, but my dad showed her as well so that she would be able to step in if she needed to. My dad was all about being prepared.
Aged Healthy, Wealthy & Wise gave me the tools, and encouragement, to continue this conversation with my parents in a meaningful, purposeful way, and I am so thankful to Covie for that.
One of the most interesting findings from Covie’s interviews is about how staying connected to technology improves the lives of those who are aging. I am so proud of the job my mom is doing staying connected to us on social media. In January I bought her an iPad, and she has been texting and connecting with us via email ever since and has Wi-Fi in her home for the first time.
Despite all these positive conversations, there are some difficult conversations my dad does not want to have. Although he is prepared with long-term care insurance if he needs to move to assisted living, there is a clear avoidance of the topic, knowing that he wants to stay in his home as long as possible. He has not been willing to talk about moving in with us or other options that take him out of his home. Aged Healthy, Wealthy & Wise gave me the perspective that this is a process — to make it an ongoing discussion based on our love as a family so that we have the best possible futures with the time we have together.
As the research and stories in Aged Healthy, Wealthy & Wise reveal, the greater the ability to talk about difficult topics earlier in life, the better off these families are for the future. It’s never too early to start the conversation! Aged Healthy, Wealthy & Wise gives you the tools to do just that.
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