Most parents try to avoid, but eventually have “the talk” about the birds and the bees with their children. In his new book, “The Other Talk”, Tim Prosch argues that there is another “equally critical time in your kids’ lives when you need to sit them down to talk about the facts of life.” This “other talk”, as Prosch calls it, is not about the beginning of life, but rather the last chapter of life.

Prosch points out that there are many books available to help adult children decide what to do AFTER a parent care crisis hits. In “The Other Talk”, he puts the responsibility in the hands of parents, not children, to be proactive about the decisions (and role reversals) that need to be discussed while the parents are still able to lead the conversation. The book aims to help parents prepare for these decisions before a crisis hits.

The book outlines how parents can take the initiative to walk through the four “facts of life” in the last chapter of life, namely:

  1. Financing the future (How do you budget for unknown needs and an uncertain length of time?)
  2. Selecting the most effective living arrangement (If and when you move to an assisted-living facility.)
  3. Getting the medical care you need (Who will advocate for your medical needs and how?)
  4. Taking charge at the end of life (How do you want your kids to start taking over the decision-making when you no longer can?)

“The Other Talk” offers many practical suggestions including:

  1. How to put together a notebook of important documents (and a list of what information should be included)
  2. How to set the criteria for when the roles will be reversed (such as when the kids will take away your car keys or decide it is time for you to move out of your home).

The book also lists specific questions you can answer about the living situation you prefer, what medical treatments you want and under what circumstances and when you want them stopped. "The Other Talk" also has an appendix full of websites with additional hints and information. It should be required reading for all of us.

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