I'm glad you stopped by.
I'm the Family Hard Conversation Navigator and the creator of Talk-Early-Talk-Often.com. I intend this to be a growing, information and educational network for people with aging parents or family members with serious illness. This site is not About Dale Susan; it's about all of us, and our challenges to prepare with our aging family members for the future.
Please press >Play(triangle) so I can introduce myself...
After 36 years as an ordained minister in my denomination, including 4 years as a Hospice Chaplain, I have witnessed many families in crisis because they didn't have conversations with aging parents to guide and direct some of the most important decisions of life.
In truth -- I needed this myself. As the the oldest sibling, I always felt responsible. But when I couldn't get my parents to talk about the plans for my youngest brother, with autism, after he could no longer live with them, I knew I was in trouble. So this work is very personal as well.
I began this website to provide and interpret information
about the critical choices that families will need to be making along the way. This
website has emerged as a resource for anyone with aging parents,
siblings of special needs adults, congregations trying to support
caregivers, health care organizations trying to smooth the way for patients and their families, or baby boomers looking to plan their own futures. Please
use it in your own situation and recommend it to others.
As the Family Hard Conversations Navigator, I provide family communication coaching through my resources and courses, and I am a consultant for health care organizations, congregations and corporations to help families navigate the often overwhelming challenges of aging. I'm a speaker and workshop
leader. I've been interviewed for radio, NBC Nightly News, and the PBS Documentary,
Consider the Conversation.
I am certified as an Advance Care Planning Facilitator and Instructor, which means I've had training to guide people through a process to talk about and record their decisions about the end-of-life. I am, also, on a Steering Committee of a national coalition, C-TAC, The Coalition to Transform Advanced Care.
I use my training in Conflict Resolution and Mediation to work
with families, congregations, and organizations to help people prepare
for the hard realities of aging and serious illness within our families.
Why did I start this project?
For years, as a local pastor, I got the phone calls after a crisis with someone's elderly mom or dad. When describing the problem, what people most often said was: “Help, we don’t know what to do… we never talked about it.”
Finally, when I was faced with the same kinds of issues in my own family, I realized it was time to step back and use my training, experience and research to help all of us with aging parents.
I'm creating these resources to help people become more at ease
when dealing with all the challenges that come along with their aging parents and elder
More about me
My extended family is scattered across the
United States, and I now drive several hours to provide support to my aging family. I live outside of Chicago where I am the pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Deerfield, IL. I enjoy reading, restaurants, theater and music. I love singing and was a charter member
Sing to Live,
a community chorus created to support individuals and families affected by breast cancer.
I truly hope this website is helpful to you, and that you will find a lifeline to help you make this difficult journey with your aging parents with more confidence.
Talk to you soon...
Submit your name and email to receive this guide -- for free. You really can get instant help to improve family conversations with aging parents.
Rev. Dale Susan