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Seniors and Their Adult Children Should Talk and Plan PDF Print Email

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By Ellen Edwards, Member, Board of Directors, The Counseling Center


Nov. 14, 2018:  On Tuesday, November 6, The Counseling Center sponsored an insightful, highly relevant lecture and discussion for Bronxville Senior Citizens titled "Seniors: Invisible Conversations™ with Their Adult Children,” held at The Reformed Church of Bronxville. The talk was led by Rev. Shannon White, author of The Invisible Conversations With Your Aging Parents, and Lynn Evansohn, a licensed clinical social worker at The Counseling Center.

Rev. Shannon White’s many encounters with parishioners have impressed upon her how difficult it can be for seniors to discuss with their adult children issues related to aging. These can be sensitive, even painful, conversations about seniors’ changing (often rapidly changing) health needs, questions to do with financing their care, where they will live, and their wishes for handling the end of life, including their funeral arrangements. What remains unsaid, for whatever reason, can lead to financial losses and emotional complications that could have been avoided. Often, too, families want to build strong connections with each other but find that desire thwarted by their inability to venture into sensitive terrain.

According to White, fully 75% of seniors expect their children to carry out their end-of-life wishes, but they have never actually articulated what those wishes are. And when essential documents don’t get written, or can’t be found, children can end up squabbling over their inheritance and estates can remain unsettled for years.

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White suggests that families write things down—not just wills and living wills but also the parents’ medical history, medications with dosages, how care will be paid for (especially if the kids are expected to help out), and what kind of care is needed now. White suggests that parents might need help keeping an eye on their alcohol consumption since alcohol is less well tolerated as we age and can interact with many medications.

She encourages families to confront “unfinished business” while there’s still time and she shared her own experience with her father, with whom she was able to have a brief but deeply meaningful conversation shortly before he died. Having already worked through many of her conflicted feelings for him, she was able to express her love and forgiveness, a gift that gave him greater peace at the end and allowed her greater acceptance—something her siblings, who hadn’t done the work of “unfinished business,” weren’t necessarily able to share.

White recommends the Five Wishes Living Will, readily available online, which requires the answers to five questions related to your end-of-life arrangements and, once completed, is considered a legally viable document. 

Lynn Evansohn began her part of the discussion with a story illustrating the idea that a conversation is often as much about listening as it is about speaking. As a young social worker, she was asked to convince a couple in their 80s who could no longer adequately care for their large menagerie of cats and dogs to arrange to give up their animals. Only when the couple showed no willingness to do so did she begin to pick up on why—they’d been circus performers in their youth and animals were a cherished part of their life together. By listening more closely, Evansohn realized that she needed to shift her focus away from her own agenda to what the couple actually needed, in this case, animal caregivers to come to the home. 

Sometimes, Evansohn said, a third party such as a pastor, friend, or professional therapist can facilitate a conversation that the parents and children are unable to have on their own. She recalled a man she was counseling who stubbornly insisted on acting as sole caregiver for his ill wife, whom he loved dearly. He refused to see how his wife’s overwhelming needs were taking a serious toll on his own health until his children demanded a meeting with their father and Evansohn. With Evansohn as a neutral professional presence, the man was finally able to hear his children’s pleas that they loved him and didn’t want to lose him through worry and overwork, just when they were already losing their mother.

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Sometimes we think we’ve had certain conversations with our family members, but we actually haven’t, Evansohn said. This became clear to her when her mother, 96, suffered a life-threatening incident. She recovered, but when Evansohn contacted her brother in the midst of the crisis, trying to prepare him for their mother’s possible death, she was shocked to hear him say, “I’m not ready.” This, despite their many conversations about their mother’s situation over the years. Subsequent conversations revealed how much her brother, who lived several states away, missed his mother and regretted the infrequency of their visits. Six months later, Evansohn’s family moved their mom to live near her brother. 

White said it’s important to acknowledge the tremendous grief associated with aging—over the loss of friends, loss of abilities. When children refuse to have the conversation parents try to initiate, Evansohn suggested that it can be helpful to ask if they might be ready to hear “one thing.” That one thing is sometimes enough to open up an ongoing conversation that unfolds over time. People experience grief and loss very differently, Evansohn said, and some people get stuck in their grief. In such cases, a professional can often help them get unstuck. 

The Counseling Center offers a warm, safe, and confidential place to get help. It has offices in The Reformed Church of Bronxville, as well as in Scarsdale, Riverdale, and New York City. For more information, visit www.counselingcenter.org or call its clinical director, Dr. Jane Benjamin, at 914-793-3388.

The Bronxville Senior Citizens meets at The Reformed Church of Bronxville on Tuesdays and Thursdays for a wide variety of activities. Anyone age 55 years and up is welcome. For more information, visit www.bronxvilleseniors.org.

Pictured here:  Top (L to R): Shannon White and Lynn Evansohn; second (L to R): Karla Diserens, Shannon White, Lynn Evansohn, and Virgil Roberson; third: Shannon White.

Photos courtesy The Counseling Center

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.



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Over 200 High School Students and Parents Attend Careers in Medicine Event

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By Josefa Paganuzzi, Thompson & Bender, for NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital May 15, 2019:  More than 200 high school students and parents, including over a dozen students from Bronxville, attended the...

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Healthcare Services Directory

Assisted Living Facilities

Sunrise Senior Living

500 North Columbus Avenue
Mount Vernon, New York 10552
914-667-5660

www.sunriseseniorliving.com


The Osborn

101 Theall Road
Rye, New York 10580
914-921-2200

www.theosborn.org

Bereavement

The Bereavement Center of Westchester

670 White Plains Road
Scarsdale, New York 10707 
(914) 787-6158

www.thebereavementcenter.org

Chemical Dependency Services

The Maxwell Institute

The Maxwell Institute of St. Vincent's Westchester offers outpatient chemical dependency treatment and education services for adults, adolescents and their families. Treatment includes individual and group psychotherapy, couples counseling, and psychiatric evaluation and medication management when indicated. The Institute welcomes individuals and family members who are experiencing marital and/or work-related distress as a result of alcoholism and other forms of chemical dependency.

The Maxwell Institute also offers community education services through its programs in drug and alcohol prevention in the schools. For persons wishing to become credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselors (CASACS) in New York State, the "Maxtrain" program provides the 350 classroom education hours that are an important part of the credentialing requirements.

The Maxwell Institute is grateful for the support of The Community Fund of Bronxville-Eastchester-Tuckahoe.

92 Yonkers Ave
Tuckahoe, NY 10707
(914) 337-6033

www.stvincentswestchester.org/maxwell

 

 

Counseling Services

Counseling Center

Founded in 1971, the mission of the Counseling Center “is to provide a wide range of psychotherapeutic and counseling services to individuals, couples and families by a staff of highly trained, experience and dedicated psychotherapists.
Director: Virgil Roberson

The Counseling Center
180 Pondfield Road Bronxville,
New York 10708
914-793-3388

www.counselingcenter.org

Dentists

Dr. Henry A. Blom

10 Studio Arcade
Bronxville, New York 10708
914-337-1157


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Bronxville Dental Care

Jenny A.  Kanganis, D.D.S.

Guy N. Minoli, D.D.S.

Since 1994, Dr. Kanganis and Dr. Minoli of Bronxville Dental Care have been leaders in the dental community, providing exceptional dentistry to generations of Bronxville families. They have a long history of excellence and have earned a reputation built on trust, compassion, and dedication. Drs. Kanganis and Minoli believe in a conservative, holistic, and minimally invasive approach to dentistry. Bronxville Dental Care welcomes patients of all ages and offers a comprehensive range of services, including cosmetic and restorative dentistry, implants, and pediatric dentistry. Dr. Kanganis especially loves treating children. As a mother herself of two recent Bronxville High School grads, she understands the importance of helping children to feel comfortable during their visits, while earning their trust and teaching them to become active participants in their oral health.

20 Studio Arcade

Bronxville, New York 10708

(914) 337-6536 
www.bronxvilledentalcare.com


Dr. Anthony Fiore

44 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708
914-337-3863


Dr. Quentin M. Murphy

77 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708
914-337-1004


Scarsdale Pediatric Dental

777 Post Rd.
Scarsdale, NY 10583-5000 
Phone: 914. 472. 9090 
http://www.scarsdalepediatricdental.com/


Dr. Michael J. Vitale

1 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708
914-337-8430

 

Dermatology

Dr. Lesa Kelly

77 Quaker Ridge Road
New Rochelle, New York
914-637-2663


Dr. Neil Goldberg

77 Pondfield Road Ste 2
Bronxville, New York 10708
914-337-4499

Ear, Nose and Throat

Dr. Mark Fox

ENT and Allergy Associates
1 Elm Street
Tuckahoe, New York 10707
914-961-2515

Home Care

Lawrence Home Care of Westchester

670 White Plains Road
Scarsdale, NY 10707
(914) 787-6158
www.lawrencehomecare.org

 

Hospice

Jansen Hospice and Pallative Care

670 White Plains Road
Scarsdale, New York 10583
(914) 787-6158
www.jansenhospice.org

Hospitals

New York Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital

In July 2014, Lawrence Hospital and New York-Presbyterian Hospital established a new relationship aimed at enhancing care, improving access and lowering health care costs for residents of Bronxville and surrounding communities in Westchester County. Lawrence was renamed New York-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital.

Lawrence Hospital Center was founded in 1909 and is a 291-bed acute care facility with over 1100 employees and 400 physicians. It provides emergency care to approximately 35,000 individuals every year.   It became a designated New York State Stroke Center in 2006.  Its physicians provide expertise in virtually every area of medical specialty and include over 100 primary care physicians. And, Lawrence delivers about 2000 babies every year in the home-like setting of newly designed Labor and Delivery recovery rooms.

Outpatient services include diagnostic testing and laboratory services, ambulatory surgery options, and rehabilitation and sports medicine services. The Hospital has a Women`s Imaging Center where female patients receive diagnostic services in a private setting. Outpatient physical therapy, lymphedema therapy, speech and occupational therapy services are provided both on-site at the Hospital and at Lawrence`s satellite center, The Center for Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine, in Scarsdale.

The Hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. The Hospital is fully licensed by the New York State Department of Health. Lawrence`s laboratory is accredited by the College of American Pathologists.

55 Palmer Avenue
914-787-1000 (main number)

Internal Medicine Physician

Dr. Anne Galloway

77 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708
914-337-4986


Dr. Kerrianne Page

14 Studio Arcade
914-779-9066


Dr. Raymond Chow

700 White Plains Road
Scarsdale, New York
914-723-2446

Obstetrician/Gynecologist

Dr. Polly Kanganis

4 Studio Arcade, Bronxville, NY 10708
Bronxville, New York 10708
914-771-9441


Dr. Thomas J. Rubeo Jr. MD
Bronxville Women's Care, Pllc
One Pondfield Road, Suite 302
Bronxville, NY 10708
914-337-3715

Orthodontists

Dr. Patricia Halloran

55 Park Avenue
Bronxville, New York 10708
914-337-1239


Dr. Joseph Ciccio

1 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708
914-337-4700

Orthopedics

Dr. Peter Rizzo

77 Pondfield Road
914-337-1118


Dr. Michael Elia

1 Stone Place
Bronxville, New York 10708
914-337-3976

Pediatricians

Westchester Health Pediatrics (formerly Children’s Medical Practice of Bronxville)
1 Elm Street
Tuckahoe, New York 10707
914-337-7474


Scarsdale Pediatric Associates
2 Overhill Road Suite 220
Scarsdale, New York 10580
914-725-0800


Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine
495 Central Avenue
Scarsdale, New York
914-725-7555

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