Delores Peich
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NEWS SENIOR CARE

How To Have THAT Conversation With Your Parents

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As many of us begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel, with our kids almost out of the house and college loans beginning to be paid off, another big obstacle is thrown in our way. We find ourselves being sandwiched between our own adult (or nearly adult) children and our parents. Suddenly, we are struck with the responsibility of having to make decisions for our parents when their health begins to fail and they can no longer live alone safely in their own homes. We may have noticed Mom or Dad forgetting appointments, asking the same questions repeatedly, or even letting their yards or housekeeping go, when they used to be so meticulous. These are really important signs to watch for and can sometimes mean other things in their lives are slipping. Don’t wait until your parents are not able to make important decisions on their own. Here are some suggestions for starting “The Conversation” with your Mom and Dad.

 

First, decide who needs to be involved:

If your folks have the capacity to make decisions and make plans for the future, by all means they should be part of the planning stages for their future, along with other family members who could contribute to the decision making process. It’s important that all siblings are on the same page and a discussion should take place between the adult children before the parents are brought into the discussion.

Plan a good time to talk:

Make sure you set enough time aside to discuss planning and paying for their care both now and in the future. A good time to have this discussion could be after a doctor’s appointment where a change in health has been discussed, or while you are setting up your own will or estate planning. This opens up the discussion at a time when you are making plans for your own future. Let your parents know whatyou have in place for your family.

Think about what you want to say and prepare for the discussion. Once you sit down to meet, take advantage of openings that come up, and remember that this first conversation can be a start to what should become an ongoing dialogue. The first time you have this conversation, expect that it may be uncomfortable, but know that it is important and vital for your parents health and well-being.

What topics should you cover?

First, it’s most important to talk about living arrangements. Talk to your parents about their preference to stay in their home with care, or live outside of their home in another residence when the time comes. Ask questions. Decide who will pay for their care as they age, finding out if they have a budget, long term care insurance, government assistance, savings or other ways to pay for this extra expense. Ask your folks if they have done any legal planning. You would be surprised how many seniors have not drawn up a will, done any estate planning, designated advance directives, etc. If they have not done this, it is imperative that you help them get these things started sooner than later, because the future sneaks up on us much faster than we ever think it will. Often our parents don’t know who to call or what to do. Offer help and make appointments for them if needed.

Be Sensitive:

More than likely, when you begin this ‘talk’, your parents will be defensive. Maybe they won’t, but in any case, be sensitive to the fact that they may be feeling vulnerable and scared. Help them through this process and get your ducks in a row! The more prepared they are, the easier it will be for you further on down the road. They WILL need help. This is undeniable. It is really our responsibility to hand-hold our parents and make sure they feel loved, supported and know that without a doubt that we will be there for them for the rest of their lives. Remember…these fine folks raised us! Now it’s our turn to return the favor.

And this is where I come in:

Assisted Transition provides a completely free service to seniors to get them in contact with the resources they need. We can simply give suggestions to you or the senior in your life, or really delve in and handle every aspect of their ever changing lives. If a move is decided upon, we will research homes and communities for you, taking into consideration your budget, location, care needed and preference. We will even personally go with you on tours to make sure all the important questions are answered. Our goal is to help each senior get exactly what he/she needs, whether it is someone to run errands or a complete household move. Give us a call!

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