If your parents are over the age of 65, the odds are pretty good that they’ll need long-term care at some point in the future. Which is why it’s so important that you start preparing them for this possibility.
But it’s not always easy to talk to your elderly relatives about the future. If you go into the discussion unprepared, you can come out of it frustrated and without answers.
That’s where we can help. Keep reading to hear some of our best tips for how to talk to your parents about long-term care.
Do It Early
As your parents age, their health can take a turn any day. Start the process of planning for long-term care sooner rather than later. If you don’t, you may have to make these difficult decisions under stress from emergency medical or financial situations.
This is also important because you want your parents to play a big role in the decision-making process. And if you wait too long, you may have to deal with memory loss or other mental health issues. These health problems can prevent your parents from participating in this important process.
Make a List
Walk into the discussion with an organized plan. We suggest making a list of all the important points you wish to discuss with your loved ones. That way nothing gets left out.
Here are a few of the items you’ll probably want to have on your list.
- Review existing assets, liabilities, and income.
- Talk about how they will pay for long-term care with options like retirement funds, long-term care insurance, medicare, etc.
- Discuss estate planning and obtaining updated documents like their will, power of attorney, trust agreements, and care directives.
- Give them information about facilities that provide hospital care, rehabilitation, memory care, skilled nursing care, etc. And make a list of which facilities your parents prefer.
- Discuss alternative options for when they can’t live on their own anymore, like assisted living, home health care, or moving in with relatives.
Because every family is different, your list might look different from this list. And you’ll probably need to have several discussions with them over time to check all the boxes.
Inform Them, But Let them Make the Decisions
Do plenty of research before you attempt to discuss long-term care with your parents. Print out what information you can or bring brochures or pamphlets to the table. This way your loved ones can read through the information and take their time making decisions.
Give them advice, but allow them to make their own decisions about long-term care. If they have control of the discussion, it will keep stress levels down for all parties involved.
It’s also important not to gang up on them regarding these sensitive topics. Choose one or two adult children to sit down with them. Involving more people will likely overwhelm them and lead to greater stress levels.
When in Doubt, Write to Them About Long-Term Care
Sometimes people react better to hard discussions if the information is written down. You might find it easier to include all the pertinent information in a letter or email. And your parents might have an easier time processing these decisions if they can read everything over slowly.
This is especially helpful if you live far away from your family. You can follow up on an email with a phone call to discuss further. A detailed email can also be a great way to guide the personal conversations you’ll have in the future.
At St. Williams Living Center, we offer a range of long-term care options for your loved ones. And our experienced staff is here to support you in planning for the future.
Visit our website to learn all about the services we offer. And always feel free to call us with questions. We are here to help!