Conversations to Have with Your Parents

We strongly encourage that families adopt the 40/60 rule guideline as the perfect time to start discussions concerning potentially sensitive topics around aging. That simply means that when the children are around 40 and/or the parents are around 60, these discussions should begin. Ideally, the whole family should be involved. It’s often least stressful to begin with a simple discussion of how and where your parents see themselves living in the next few years, but eventually, and sooner is better, it would be prudent to talk about a whole host of things, for example:

  • How to handle lifestyles issues that arise due to changes in health
  • How to take care of their home and property
  • Concerns about dementia
  • Financial concerns
  • Creating a safe home environment
  • Responsible driving

A Geriatric Care Manager can guide you in how to effectively have these discussions and what specific topics are relevant to your family by:

  • Researching and creating an action plan with all options for discussion
  • Ensuring that each health, financial and safety matter is properly addressed
  • Discussing crisis management scenarios

Do your parents have all the necessary documents in place? Where are they kept?

Living Wills including a POLST form

  • Healthcare Power of Attorney
  • Financial Power of Attorney
  • Last Will and Testament

Original documents should be given to your physician and their appointed healthcare decision maker, they can keep the original financial documents with a lawyer. If original documents are left in the home, they must be accessible to the appropriate family members.

Is Your Parent’s House Age Friendly?

Housing choices available to aging parents essentially boiled down to these options:

  • They could age in place
  • Move in with another family member
  • Move to a retirement community
  • Move into a facility that provides hands-on assistance with care

If your parents choose to stay at home subtle design choices can have a profound impact on how long they can comfortably live in their home, that don’t have to compromise their aesthetic. Some things to think about:

  • Eliminate potential obstacles, clutter and trip hazards
  • Ensure showers are easy to get in and out of, with room for grab bars when needed
  • Can bedrooms be moved downstairs if needed
  • Plan ahead when remodeling
  • Consult with a Geriatric Care Manager for guidance

Do you know your parent’s funeral plans?

Have they formally prearranged their funeral or memorial service with a provider? If so, these documents should be kept with their other important papers, so you have timely access to them when necessary. Remember, you don’t have to pre-pay, but you should definitely preplan.

In Summary

Having a Geriatric Care Manager assist you with these conversations can be beneficial, as they are experts in their fields and have no emotional ties or unseen benefits. Their objectivity is valuable to aid in navigating uncomfortable family conversations about the future and wellbeing of a parent or loved one.

Article Provided by:
Eldercare Navigators