Did you know that, according to the American Health Care Association more than half of Americans will require long-term care at some point in their lives? Although the topic of a parent needing long-term care can be one both aging parents and their adult children may prefer to avoid, having the hard discussion before a parent’s health declines can be optimal. It can help assure a parent’s wishes are carried out and can prevent a financial disaster. If you are visiting your parents this holiday season, it may be a good time to initiate the conversation. Below, let us talk about five ideas to use when discussing long-term care.

1. Have a face to face conversation. The aging process and long-term care can be heavy topics and not one to be brought up at just any old time. Ask your parents upfront, if you can set aside a quiet time to talk about their plans. This may allow everyone to give the topic their full attention.

2. Ask about their wishes. While you may have done your research and have some ideas of what may be best for your parents, the best course of action can be to first inquire of their wishes. Are they interested in an assisted living situation? Is remaining in their home a priority? What estate planning have they done? Have they purchased long-term care insurance or done Medicaid planning to cover the cost of a nursing home?

3. Provide information. There can be many components of long-term care planning and it may be impossible to address everything in one meeting. Providing your parents information to begin the process, and offering to assist, as needed, can be a great starting place.

4. Offer to attend meetings with them. Offer to accompany your parents to meet with a qualified estate planning and elder law attorney. This can allow you to be hands on with the gathering of financial documents and guiding them through the process.

5. Show kindness. The conversation surrounding the aging process can be daunting for aging parents.  Remember that, no matter what their reaction may be, try to remain kind. 

Following these tips can assist you in giving your parents a roadmap to navigate the challenges of aging, which can be a great gift to give. For further assistance with long-term planning and related legal issues, our office is here to help. Please reach out to us today to schedule an appointment.