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 38 years as an ordained minister in my denomination, including several 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 autistic youngest brother, after he could no longer live with them, I knew I was in trouble. So this work is very personal as well.
This is for YOU
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.
What I Do
As the "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, podcasts, for NBC Nightly News, and the PBS Documentary,
Consider the Conversation: a documentary on a taboo subject.
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, a member of a national organization, 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.
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...
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Rev. Dale Susan