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“Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m 64?”

I’m humming an old Beatles tune as I write this, thinking that I’m only 16 short years from 64 ! Many people this month might try to hook you into buying a card, flowers, or a special meal to show your love. I’d like to find a card that reads:

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down. Oprah Winfrey.”

Many spouses are dealing with broken down bodies , caring for aging loved ones. The Children of Aging Parents in the U.S. estimates that 73% of caregivers for aging parents are women. “Eighty percent of long-term care is done by spouses” says gerontologist Rhonda Montgomery.

So, “will you still need me will you still feed me when I’m 64?” is a serious love question.

When you truly love someone, you are patient, kind, and hopeful. You bear a lot of things together in good times and in bad, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health.

Perhaps the most loving thing you can do for your parents, your spouse, and your kids is to set up a plan for the caregivers and aging folks.

  • Plan for the future. Only a few of us may need some special care and nursing service. Do you know how to access these services in your town, and from the farm? Our health care system is under lots of pressure, and it pays to know the process you have to go through before you actually need to use it. The elderly who live at home may need home care or specialized services like a foot care specialist. It’s a myth to think that we all end up in nursing homes, but it’s the reality that we all benefit from a plan for our care.
  • Think long term. As a life coach, I encourage people to plan to live to be 100. So at age 64, you’ve still got 3 decades of life and love in you! “As housing is often an issue, plans need to include a transition when independent living is no longer possible. The time to leave the family home is when you can still walk out of it,” says Montgomery. I know some farm kids who are nervous about their parent’s stubbornness in staying in the family home when the oven gets left on, and things get overlooked. Have an intentional conversation about housing options, and let the folks test out new living arrangements before finalizing plans. With the “pig going through the python” i.e. the baby boomers aging, there are more demands on limited housing options.
  • Ask for help. Love does not read minds. You need to ask for what you need. If you are a caregiver, a spouse, a parent, and a full-time employee, you need to be intentional about making a “shopping list.” Things you are going to stop doing in order to stay sane and healthy. Love yourself enough to start a list of things that need to be delegated to others.
  • Consider extended health benefits insurance. I called my insurance broker on this one, and he says the main thing is to know about the 6 month waiting periods when you make your extended health benefits insurance application for ambulance, hospital allowance, drug coverage, dental assistance, etc. Many people don’t plan far enough in advance, and then don’t qualify because of the waiting period. If I was 64, the monthly premium for extended health coverage would be a reasonable $8.95/month, and of course, the premiums go up as my age goes up.
  • Make contacts. Get to know the support groups that deal with the aging concerns you have. You can do a search on the internet at www.google.ca or visit your local library. Many resources are available to help families support their loved ones who are dealing with aging, disease, and long-term care issues. Read Jimmy Carter’s book called The Virtues of Aging.
  • Who, being loved, is poor? (Oscar Wilde) Special occasions like Valentines are the perfect opportunity to deepen our relationships by telling others what they mean to us. I’m a big fan of handwritten love letters and phone calls. You don’t need to spend much money to show heaps of love to your parents, your spouse, or your family.

Whether you’re riding in a limo, a bus, or a pick-up truck this month, I hope your family will know how much you need them and how much you care! Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Elaine Froese helps families plan for change. She is a certified family business coach and writes from her farm near Boissevain, Manitoba.

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“A joy to work with, heard loud and clear. When the farmers laughed or asked a great question, I knew they were listening and really wanted to learn from her. Her tips were easy to understand. It was just about understanding that conflict happens, and to have the confidence in yourself to ask for what you want. In the glowing review from farmers after her presentation, I knew they had heard that loud and clear.”
Maddy Berner, Event Planner & Communications Coordinator, National Milk Producers Federation National Milk Producers Federation
“I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for your virtual kitchen table chat with Arlan Academy. My wife and I signed up as it was exceptionally relevant to our current journey with potentially transitioning to her parents’ farm. The session was able to cover so many aspects of these crucial conversations and hearing you speak to both sides of the conversation was eye opening for my own perspective on this topic. It seemed to be very well attended and sounded like there were many other people who would echo my thoughts and feelings on it.”
N. Oakley, Farmer, Ontario
“Elaine helped me allocate $1 Million of assets the night I listened to her. Elaine’s presentation brings value to the use of my services in my office.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealth Management
“I recently joined in and listened to your Healthy Farmer Agriwebinar for FMC. I truly enjoyed hearing your perspective and even went and grabbed my Mom, away from her work, to come and listen in on some of your main points as well! One area that really stood out for me, both personally with our own succession plans and with our clients, was your discussion involving "Instant Influence" and how ready are you to change? I loved this concept!”
Annessa Good, FCC Transition Specialist, Alberta
“Elaine Froese truly is the Farm Whisperer. With her big heart and stern resolve, she guides families through uncharted waters and helps them arrive safely at their desired destination. She has been there, done that, and has helped hundreds of families come out on the other side. With your family and your farm legacy on the line, you owe it to yourself to start this conversation. You do not need to do it alone. Let Elaine Froese guide you through. Your legacy is being written day by day. How will you be remembered?”
Tracy Brunet, Host of The Impact Farming Show & CEO of Farm Marketer
“You speak like you’ve been sitting at our kitchen table! You know our family issues well. I am feeling more comfortable understanding what we now need to do. Elaine Froese is real.”
Audience Member,
“I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently. We held an emergency family/farm meeting today because of issues that I had enough of. We used a 'talking stick' like you recommended and wrote a chart of rules. The rest of the family thought the idea that we needed a meeting was worth rolling their eyes over, until we got started. The younger ones were quick to clue in that they now have an opportunity to be bluntly honest. The older ones took a bit longer to believe they could truly say what they think. In the end, the meeting needed two sessions because there was so much to talk about… and so many things people didn't realize were a big deal to the others. Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business. Truly thankful.”
Kim Martin, Dairy Farmer, Ontario
“Helped me develop my framework to start having constructive and meaningful conversations around the farm.”
Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
“Some great lessons, Elaine! You continue to do some remarkable and potentially life-changing work.”
James Mitchell, Principal, Conversations Consulting
“Our family had a good farm meeting yesterday afternoon. Your Fairness video was a great topic of discussion. One of the action items after the meeting was to have my two non-farming siblings watch the video before the next big meeting they are involved with on the farm. It will be a great conversation starter as we catch them up on our current plan. As they are younger, we also hope it will help them to ask new questions that may not have been on their mind.”
G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
“Elaine gives me excellent tools that help me work with my clients!”
Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
“She has a sense of “knowing” quickly what is happening in the family dynamic. Her messages to her audiences drive home what needs to be done next to solve the complex issues of farm transition and conflict resolution.”
Audience Member,
“Eye-opening. Excited to open the door of communication with my spouse and farm family.”
Ashley Hoppe, Farm Partner
“The Strong Farms, Strong Families session gave farm families an opportunity to meet face to face with Elaine Froese... hear her own story, experiences and skill set. From this information packed session and related materials, families could identify areas of success in their journey and other places they need assistance. The greatest take away was that participants could see that Elaine Froese is someone they can trust with the things that they hold most precious.... their family and their farm.”
Nancy Atkinson, Nobleford Ag Society, Alberta
“Elaine’s real-life scenarios help her audiences know they are not alone, knowing there are creative solutions to help them get the life on the farm they have always wanted.”
Audience Member,
“A long time female client who had refined the art of procrastination was so moved by the end of your presentation that she accepted your permission to “drop the bananas.” She contacted me soon after for an appointment to do some planning which included the selling of the family “Century Farm.” A very, very emotional decision on her part that was not likely to have occurred without your presentation.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealthy Management
“I just have to say… that your work is amazing and I have never forgotten your teachings from our session in Williams Lake at TRU. It is super important work. I know so many people going through the trauma of succession. I hate to use that word, but I was an “out-law” and know it can get terrible. I continue to forward your emails on to others. Keep doing what you do! You are amazing. You kind of walk into the fire regularly… and with a smile. Proud to have met you.”
Megan, BC Rancher
“As my husband and I eagerly started the course we were optimistic and excited to be taking this next step in our Farm Transition. We were starting to question ourselves and whether or not we were just being selfish and greedy, and if this Farm Transition was still an option for us. We barely got through the first Module and were already having such a huge relief. As we moved through the modulus there were so many times that we just sat back with our hands in the air and thought YES. My husband and I would smile with relief because all of the concerns that we have been struggling with were relevant and came up in the modules. We really enjoyed the course and are excited to move on to the next stages to find our farm resolution.”
Shannon Gilchrist, “Get Farm Transition Unstuck” online course participant
“My hubby farms with 2 brothers and parents, and it’s become a really toxic place. No communication, no respect, etc. Twelve months ago, my husband’s brothers told him they don’t want to work with him anymore and offered him a pay out. His parents did nothing to stop it! He had no choice but to leave. Three months later, we moved off the farm and into town. He has been offered heaps of jobs and is now truck driving and carting hay and grain. We have tried communicating with his parents about what happened but they are not interested. So basically my hubby has lost his family. Very sad but we as husband and wife are overall in a good place and moving on to create our own life. Please continue on with all your wonderful work in helping families on the farm. I continue to tell any farmers I know about you, that they must ‘google’ you, and read your books.”
Donna, Farmer, Australia

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