Do you know your parents' future wishes?

February 22 2018


While it may be difficult to approach aging and end-of-life concerns with your parents, it's important to have clarity when it comes to health care directives, finances and final wishes. Here's some advice on what subjects to discuss and how to do it in a way that will help everyone feel at ease.

What to discuss with aging parents:

  • Legal documents -- Ask your parents if they have all their legal documents in order. Having items like a will, a financial power of attorney and a health care power of attorney in place will ensure their wishes are met while eliminating potential court costs, arguments or lawsuits.
  • Future living arrangements -- From assisted living facilities to nursing homes, ask your parents where they would prefer to live if they need to move in the future. Research your options beforehand and talk about the things you can do to make them feel more comfortable with this topic.
  • Health care expenses -- Find out if your loved ones have considered health care options for the future and estimate the savings they'll need. Decide whether or not they'd like long-term-care insurance, which covers a specific amount each day for personal care services.

How to approach the conversation:

  • Prepare ahead of time -- Organize your thoughts by jotting down an outline and cover the most important topics first. If you're nervous, find someone you trust and do a practice run beforehand.
  • Be considerate -- Let your parents talk and really listen to what they have to say. Reassure them that you respect their wishes and ultimately want what's best for them.
  • Ease into it -- Use conversation starters like a relevant story in the news or a person you both know. Discuss how the event unfolded and ask your loved one what they would do in that particular situation.

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