Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mending Fences

By Sharon A. O'Brien, SC; RN, PG; BSW, RSW; CG 
Executive Vice-President of Policy & Education 
at Senior Watch 

Family rifts are nothing new!  Remember Cain and Abel? Few families escape unscathed, and unfortunately, there seems to be no easy solution. One thing for sure, years do not necessarily mend breaks in family fences.

If we find ourselves in this situation, perhaps a new insight can help us take a new look at our fences!

Often, as we get along in years, we feel a need to make things better. If there are any doubts as to the benefits of taking the risk, be assured that even if we are rebuffed, we will know we at least tried.

The real key is to FORGIVE! Contrary to popular thinking, we do this for ourselves and not for the other person! This involves letting go of grudges that we’ve carried around for too long! It also may involve forgiving ourselves for some dumb remark made 30 years ago!

Remember the line in a Robert Frost poem: “good fences make good neighbours”? They make good families as well!

Mending and maintaining good family fences makes good sense at any age. Simple steps like making sure our wills are current, explaining decisions to appropriate family members, preparing a list of items to be left to specific people, informing relatives of preferred funeral arrangements and involving those concerned in decision making are all important.

Do you have some family fences that need to be mended or maintained?

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