Light of Gray

Elder Care Expertise

What is Grand Family Planning?

Grand Family Planning Logo

A new way for families to ensure their well-being.


Every family has needs that are constantly changing. The more members, the more complex. And today’s family often consists of grandparents, parents and grandchildren. As children grow and leave home, they sometimes return. Parents age, living much longer than ever before, and start needing help from their adult children. No family exists in a vacuum.

Love and necessity connect us. But law and finance can present us with obstacles. When the time comes, will you be able to advocate for family members who can’t speak for themselves? Who takes responsibility for what? How will expenses be managed? Where is everything? How can you begin to prepare? Can’t this all wait?

Grand Family Planning helps to answer these questions and more. By working with a team of professionals, you will understand what questions need to be asked. Priorities will be set, recommendations will be made, and introductions to all the right strategic partners will bring you a seamless and highly productive experience. Membership in Grand Family Planning will help you to achieve peace of mind through ongoing advice and support, offering integrated services at significant discounts, providing stress relief and direction for your entire family, from grandparents to grandchildren.

If this resonates with you, visit Grand Family Planning to sign up now for notification when we launch in the Fall of 2014 in northern New Jersey. Call 973-962-1880 or email For more ideas, visit

Leave a comment »

Avoiding Shark Bite

If you look at this clip, you may move the playhead to 32 seconds. This scene has been resonating with me a in big way lately, because I have been running into a lot of people who are like the Mayor of Amityville. The difference is, these folks don’t have a shark problem. They have a family problem.

As we get older, things change. Parents start needing more help. Often, they try to hide their problems from us, not wishing to be a burden. Or they just don’t want to acknowledge their issues. They may be frightened, too. No one wants to be vulnerable. Denial is an extremely powerful defense mechanism.

Adult children tend to minimize the issues, too. They have their own lives. Mom and Dad aren’t complaining, not exactly, but you feel it in your gut. You know something’s not quite right. But you’re focused on what’s going on right in front of you, and that’s a lot. Maybe it was just an aberration. Everyone has bad days, right?

Then something definitive happens. A fall. Evidence of confusion. Wandering. You can’t ignore it anymore. And it could be too late. The shark may already have your cheek in its mouth.

Then there are those who become caregivers to their folks, by design or by accident. They become so involved in their parents’ issues, they ignore their own: their health, their children’s needs and the fact that they, someday, may need the kind of help they are furnishing to their parents for themselves.

So what’s the answer? “Grand Family Planning.” Start talking to a professional today. You can’t start soon enough. Because if you see a fin in the distance, you can get away in time. You can get a bigger boat. You can prepare for what’s coming. But if you wait until the shark is hanging from your butt, you have a much bigger problem that’s a lot harder to solve. Contact Light of Gray today and keep the sharks at bay.


Another Grown-Up in the Room

Respect for authority must sometimes be hired

Respect for authority must sometimes be hired

At a recent talk I gave for adult children of aging parents, a woman who was struggling with her cantankerous father asked me what subjects were “worth bleeding over.” What battles do you fight until your stubborn parent relents?

I thought for a moment and told her that was very subjective and based on the family in question. However, one piece of advice I did offer is this: have another grown-up in the room.

Wait a minute, you may be thinking; I’m an adult. My parent is an adult. Why can’t we just work this out for ourselves?

Well, no one is saying YOU can’t. But if you can, you’re in a very rare and blessed position.

Simply put, no matter how old you become, you will ALWAYS be a child to your parents. No matter how capable you are, no matter how much they may respect you and revel in your achievements, the family dynamic established in your childhood is extremely difficult to overcome. When a parent becomes less able, and they are frightened of what will become of them as they continue to lose ground, and they are unlikely to discuss that fear with their children. If you were The Baby as a child, you continue to be The Baby as an adult, even if you’re a successful captain of industry.

So what can a child do to gain some leverage in this most difficult and contentious of situations? Bring in a pro. It could be an elder law attorney, a financial advisor, a psychologist, a trusted physician or any combination. The idea is to bring in someone with authority in a field related to the situation in which your family now finds itself to be part of your team.

Bringing to bear certain expertise can ease the anxiety inherent in addressing the need to act. After all, your parent has been around for a long time. Everything that needs to be done now is counter-intuitive to everything they’ve done up until this point. So not only do you seem like an upstart, you disrespectful, tactless ingrate, you’re forcing them to confront ideas that scare the hell out of them. It’s much better for everyone concerned if the bad news is delivered by a knowledgeable, caring and highly competent professional. Someone who can explain the situation and offer sensible plans to deal with what may be coming can be an invaluable ally.

This is an overlooked quality the right professionals bring to the conversation. They’ve seen it before, and perhaps been through it themselves (as I have). Delivered with sensitivity and authority, the actions required in planning can be accomplished more readily and effectively with their assistance.

So, as you come to the realization that your time has come, by all means, start the conversation. If you’re thinking about it, do it. Don’t wait. But don’t be surprised if you get push-back, and know that this is completely normal. Arm yourself with resources and allies, go back and get a plan in place. You’ll feel better, and once they’ve met the other grown-ups you bring to the proceedings, your parents will, too.

Please note: I will be giving a talk at Ringwood Public Library in Ringwood, NJ at 7pm on Wednesday, Feb. 19th, 2014. Bring your questions.


Legal Ease at Ringwood Public Library January 29, 2014 7pm

Light of Gray presents the Fourth in a series on Elder Care talks at Ringwood Public Library

legaleaseLegal Ease

When it comes to having the support of their loved ones, many seniors believe they can simply tell people that they would like certain family members to speak for them. Unfortunately, there are all kinds of “protections” in place that prevent that from happening.

In the interest of saving money, many families will try to do it themselves, or seek resources through the internet. But hiring the right professional can save you thousands of dollars, not to mention anguish and heartache.

What documents should every family have in place? What’s the difference between estate planning and elder care planning? Learn about important benefits you may be missing out on and new legislation that affects the way we are treated and how well our families can represent us.

Robert J. Romano, Jr. is an elder law attorney who has been practicing law for more than thirty years and is a frequent speaker on these subjects.  Mr. Romano is known for his friendly down-to-earth style.  He will answer these questions and more in a clear, concise manner, easily understood by the lay person at this important free seminar.  Don’t miss it!

For more information, visit Light of Gray or Ringwood Public Library.

To register, please call 973-962-6256.

Leave a comment »

First Free Seminar in a Series at Ringwood Public Library

Presenting a Series of Free Seminars For Adult Children and Aging Parents

“I’m Worried About Mom”: Turning Worry into Meaningful Action

Thursday, April 25th, 2013 at 7 pm

No one likes to think about sad, difficult topics, especially when they have to do with people we love. Covered in this seminar will be ideas for helping families to open up discussions on these subjects and plan for an easier future.

Presented by Tracey Lawrence, an expert in elder care.

Leave a comment »

See the Light of Gray Web Site

Light of Gray logoNow you have a place to go for resources, support, ideas, advice and events: The Light of Gray web site. Designed to work on desktops and smartphones, with appropriate links and navigation, this site is created to help you get the information and support you need. Please visit and share your thoughts. Light of Gray is here to show you the way to a better future for your family.

Leave a comment »

Long Term Care Insurance: Better Now Than Later

We are living longer than ever. The chances that at some point in your life, you will need some kind of assistance in getting through your days are very high. Will you have someone available to help you? Will you have the resources to pay someone? Do you have insurance to defray some of the cost?

If you don’t know the answer to these important questions, here’s a great resource I found thanks to another wonderful caregiver blogger, Ann Napoletan: LTC Facts.

Ann’s blog about her own personal caregiving journey is here.

She also has a caregiver support blog.

It’s important that you know that the field of providers continues to narrow. Getting approved for this important financial tool is becoming more difficult as expenses escalate and the likelihood that insured people will file claims in their life time increases. It’s a bad bet for insurers, and they are hedging. The longer you wait, the more expensive it becomes. And trust me, you don’t want to face a future without some kind of net! Here’s hoping you never need it, but if you do, it can save you from being wiped out and avail you of important support services. And learning about it is free!

Leave a comment »