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Dealing with Aging Parents and Grandparents - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Dealing with Aging Parents and Grand-parents

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Dealing with aging parents and grandparents can be a delicate situation. These discussions between seniors and their adult-children can be tough and often times, emotionally charged.

Norma and Don Madson of Fargo say they went through the process in a logical way: by listening to each other. The two married in Queens, NY 62 years ago and later lived to Brainerd, MN for 43 years.

5 kids, 12 grandchildren, and 14 great-grand-children later, the Madsons were living their dream life in Tucson, Arizona for the past 20 years. But a year ago, they decided to move back to the Midwest.

"Don was becoming forgetful," says Norma. "And that was a big concern."

Norma was able to handle Don's dementia at first, but after complications from a colonoscopy, Norma became ill herself. When she couldn't take care of them both, Norma's children stepped in to help with medical papers and find information on independent senior living. It's a way for the couple to still live safely on their own...while help just a phone call away from a community nurse or their daughter's family.

"Things were just too much. I was concerned about what don would be doing," says Norma. "That was the big thing -- how much quicker they were to be there and think that. And ask, 'What do you think about this now? How about this? You want to look at this?'"

Messiah Lutheran Church's faith community nurse, Sandi Kimmet, says they are tough but important questions seniors and their adult children need to sit down and ask.

"The most important thing is listening, hearing for 'I'm feeling afraid at home,'"Kimmet says. "They were actively involved in all of those decisions. Decisions not made for them but made with them. That's the biggest part."

"You have to realize and look around and see, how you are really," says Norma.

It's that honesty and open communication..that's made the transition for Norma and Don a lot easier.

"I can do anything I want and we can do anything we want. I just enjoy that," says Don.

Kimmet says there is no one fix for all seniors, which is why it's important for families to look at different options -- from assisted living, independent living, and services to help seniors who want to stay at home.

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