Readers’ Views

Time to have that talk

To the Editor:

Well, it’s time we have that talk. It may feel uncomfortable, you might be embarrassed and there could be some giggling about it as well, but it’s imperative we have this talk. No, I am not talking about the birds and bees. I’m referring to talking with our loved ones, whether a spouse, parent, in-law, grandparent or a friend, about establishing a plan for them as they age.

We plan which college to attend, our vacations, weddings, get-togethers, retirements, but we do not take time to plan the things we will need help with as we age and what different types of services we may require.

It’s difficult to make decisions about what to do with your loved ones when standing in a hospital room after a traumatic experience. Nursing home? Hospice? Assisted living? Do you split up caregiving responsibilities among family members to help out? By this time, you are too late. This family meeting needs to happen with the care receiver when they can be an active participant in the conversation. After all, they are the one it affects the most.

A family meeting, in this sense, is meant to be an open discussion about caring for a family member or friend. By having this meeting early, you can identify possible barriers and find solutions. Here are some tips to having a successful family meeting:

o Address the most critical issues first; they should receive full attention

o Be honest

o Be respectful

o Listen to the care receiver – remember, ultimately, it is their decision

o Turn off cell phones or other potentially distracting items

o Use “I” statements to express your needs, feelings, concerns

When is the best time to hold a family meeting? You never know when an emergency is going to happen. That’s why it’s so important to have the conversation sooner rather than later.

A few things to be aware of that may require a meeting immediately:

o Concern about a loved one’s health

o A change in the amount of assistance needed

o Family or friends from out-of-town are visiting or are asking questions

The worst thing that can happen is not having a conversation. Because guess what? We all age; we all want to age successfully; and we want our loved ones to know what our expectations are. Also, stating that once someone hits a certain age, they “get put in a home” is not having a successful plan. It’s demeaning to our loved ones and our caregiving role.

Your challenge is to have the conversation. It can be formal, informal or even a quick call to say, “Hey, I think we need to talk.”

Jason W. Swanson,

executive director

Minnesota River Area

Agency on Aging

Still time to donate

To the Editor:

As of 8 a.m. Monday, we had raised $57,812 on our goal of $80,000 for Martin County Relay for Life. At Relay for Life, no donation is too small; each and every dollar counts. Your donations help fund groundbreaking cancer research, patient care programs, and can make a difference in communities like ours. With every donation, you are helping the American Cancer Society save lives.

Because of the extreme heat at the Relay on Saturday, our attendance was low but our determination to support our cancer survivors and caregivers was as high as ever. After all, they do not get to take a day off in their struggles with the disease. For those who still want to support us this year, you can do so by sending your donations to: American Cancer Society, Attn: Relay For Life of Martin County, 2900 43rd St. NW Suite 350, Rochester, MN 55901, or send an email to samijo.helmersnelson@cancer.org for other ways to donate.

My haircut campaign raised nearly $3,600, if not more. Thank you all. I was humbled by the generous donations from everyone I encountered. It was difficult to manage the totals as it was a combination of a couple dollars here, a 20 there, a couple of group collections, church members gifts, Facebook fundraiser, pledges yet to come, and company matching dollar programs.

The Wigs for Kids program supplies real hair wigs to kids at no cost. It’s mission “Helping Children Look Themselves and Live Their Lives” provides venues to support their self-esteem as they deal with the physical change of hair loss. If my hair donation can help them feel better today, then I was willing to give it away.

If you missed your opportunity to make a monetary gift, donations marked “Ace’s Hair” can be received at First Congregational Church, Hair Etc., or contact me at (507) 236-7040. Your donation to this program will make a difference. Cancer information, answers and hope. Available every minute of every day. Call (800) 227-2345

David “Ace” Adams,

team member,

United Cancer Crushers,

United Church of Christ

Fairmont

Trio needs to rethink it

To the Editor:

I’m very upset at the way these three (Fairmont City Council members Tom Hawkins, Randy Lubenow and Ruth Cyphers) have treated our City Hall people — Libby Bloomquist; Patty Monsen, in saying she wasn’t qualified to handle counting signatures and she’s more than qualified; and now, Mike Humpal.

Most companies confront a person whose performance is in question, ask them to change and give them a time schedule to correct the problem. Did these three do that for Libby? What about Mike?

How much time have Lubenow and Cyphers spent with Mike to know all that he has done to make this city a place people want to come have a business and raise a family, and all that he is doing now? Getting a replacement for Mike (and I pray that doesn’t happen) will not be easy. And the cost — have they even thought about that? Or is it that they don’t like Mike for whatever reason. That’s not a good reason to let go someone who has worked hard for this city.

These three need to think about what they are doing and how it’s going to affect those of us living here. Realtors want to sell property but who’s going to want to come here to work and live if the City Council can’t get along and do what’s right for the city.

Charlene McMillan

Fairmont

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