Having “the talk” with your parents about long-term care may seem like a conversation you never want to have. It not only forces you face their mortality, it also forces you to face your own.
Fortunately, it does not have to be a long conversation you have following afternoon brunch. However, you should not put off the subject of long-term care for too long. Even if your parents live an active lifestyle and are in good health, you never know when the worst might occur. It is better to address these kinds of issues early so that all of you are on the same page about their wishes.
One of the things you can do to broach the subject is to bring it up in casual conservation. One day you can ask them if they have started making plans for the day that they can no longer sufficiently take care of themselves. During the next conversation, ask for a few details. The key is to be direct but remain sensitive to their wants, needs and worries. Read further for some tips on bringing up long-term care plans with your parents.
When the subject moves to health care
When one of your parents starts talking about the last visit to the doctor, take it as a cue to bring up the subject. Press them on the state of their respective health and simply ask if they have finances in place to address future costs. If one of them is beginning to have problems such as walking up and down the stairs, it may be a good time to ask what their plan is for when they can no longer easily move around their home.
If you are not comfortable bringing up the subject with your parents alone, try brining in your siblings. Call a family meeting and allow everyone to share their thoughts and concerns.
However, you must keep in mind that what is important to your parents may not be on the top of your list. Ask them what they want and how they feel about the options available. Remember that one day you will be in a similar position, so treat your parents the way you will want your children to treat you. This means that you should be telling your parents what they should do. If they feel like you are trying to take away their freedom or control how they spend their later years, the entire conversation may backfire.
If you encounter resistance
If your parents refuse to have a long-term care discussion, be patient. They do not want to think about the end or losing control of their faculties any more than you do. Give them time to think things over, but do not give up. After a bit of time, bring up the subject again. While they may not be open to having such a discussion at first, they may be more willing once they have contemplated the future in those terms.
Whether it is choosing the right care facility in Gainesville or making sure there will be finances available for long-term care, it is important to have such discussions with your parents. You will want to make sure they have the proper estate planning tools in place, their will is updated, and that there is a health care directive so that you or one of your siblings can see to their needs.