Conversations with Aging Parents
Ten thousand Americans have their 65th birthday every day. With healthier lifestyles and the recent advances in modern medicine, people expect to live longer, be healthier and more active. By consulting a retirement income planning advisor in Denver, families work to build wealth over their lifetimes. Then, almost 90% of Americans choose to stay in their homes as long as possible.
The Institute on Aging tells us that 65% of older adults rely exclusively on family or friends for assistance. An additional 30% have access to supplemental paid assistance. So, as our nation continues to age, Americans must focus their attention on caring for both themselves and their aging parents.
Often, a particularly difficult conversation to initiate involves talking with your aging parent about their extended medical care. As you shift roles, emotions frequently prevent vital information exchanges and delay critical decisions.
So, as you approach your parent about their future care, a structured strategy for the conversation assures you have all the details you require before a crisis arises. The sooner you communicate about these important issues, the better. Do not avoid the topic of care because it makes you uncomfortable. Chances are waiting will only make it more difficult.
Know what information you need ahead of time to keep the conversation on track. Start with this checklist:
- Name, SSN and All Contact Information
- Primary Physician
- Medications and Supplements
- Allergies to Medication and Food
And make a note of where they keep their medical and estate management paperwork:
- Medicare Card and Insurance Information
- Power of Attorney(s) for Healthcare and Other Purposes
- Will, Trusts, Living Will, and Other Legal Documents
Power of attorney laws vary state to state. Estate strategies that include trusts often involve complex tax rules and regulations. Consult with a knowledgeable retirement income planning advisor in Denver before implementing these types of strategies.
Collecting all the critical information outside of a crisis means you avoid frantic or overly emotional discussions in the future. Checklists help keep the conversation on track, but this conversation essentially signals a significant change in the relationship between you and your parent. The transition to dependence is difficult for anyone, so there is potential to unearth old relationship issues. Prepare yourself to deal with your own emotions and those of your parents. And do your best to collect all the required information.
Assume this conversation is one of a series you initiate with your parent about how they see their future. The ongoing dialogue should consider involving other siblings, too. Commonly, one sibling takes the lead when caring for aging parents, but everyone in the family should contribute.
Regardless of your relationship, this new life phase presents challenges for both you and your parent. Now is the time to take the necessary steps to open communication so that you can provide the increasing help needed as your parent(s) ages. Consult with your retirement income planning advisor in Denver to align your parent’s financial situation with your own.
The information provided is for informational and/or educational purposes only and is not, in any way, to be considered investment advice nor a recommendation of any investment product. Advice may only be provided by GreenStar Advisors’ investment advisor representatives after entering into an advisory agreement and providing us with all requested background and account information.
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.