As the holidays approach this year, we have so many things on our mind. Buying the right present, making a perfect dish to serve and maybe even how to talk to our parents about their health and plan for the future. I am guessing that your parents have probably given you a "talk" at some point in your life. As we grow up, we start to notice the roles tend to switch a bit. This is why discussing what future plans look like with your parents are just as important as when they did the same for you. Unfortunately, research shows that few Americans are having these crucial conversations, until it is too late.
Waiting until a crisis moment, as you can guess, isn't an excellent planning strategy. It is up to you to bring up critical topics with your parents sooner rather than later. Keep it casual, don’t overwhelm your parents, but also let them know that you care and are concerned about them.Moreover, remember helping your parents plan is not only crucial for their well-being as they age, but will make a difference in your own financial, emotional and physical health as well.
Here is a quick reference guide to follow as you begin these conversations:
1.) Home Options—Do your parents want to remain in their current living situation for as long as possible? Is "downsizing" or a senior living community worth considering? Home care? Assisted living? Consider their current state of health.
2.) Living Modifications—Is your parents' home up to standards? Are there any repairs or alterations that can be made to make their circumstance more practical for their physical needs?
3.) Exercise—Research shows that regular physical activity is vital to healthy aging. Encourage your loved ones to exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Even offer to join them in walks or exercise classes.
4.) Estate Planning—Is your parents' will up-to-date? Can their assets afford their care in case of health decline? Are their affairs in order if they plan on passing property to family members? Do they have a financial advisor?
5.) Healthcare—Are your parents advance directives for healthcare complete? Power of Attorney?Living will? What are your parents' wishes if they were to be incapacitated?Consider Medicare, Social Security, VA benefits, and Retirement. Are your parents taking advantage of their benefits? Do they have the best supplemental (“Medigap”) policy? Part D drug plan? Do they know the deadlines to sign up for benefits to avoid penalties?
6.) Long-term Care Insurance— Medicare does not cover long-term care (ex. nursing home), and such costs are not cheap. Financial resources covering such costs can rapidly deplete. Ensure your parents are good candidates for long-term care. If they have an existing policy, make sure it is with a reliable organization.
7.) Avoiding Crime and Fraud—It is common for criminals and con artists to target the elderly.Seniors falling prey to financial scams is a frequent occurrence and can be embarrassing to admit. Spark the conversation and have a specific plan in place if anyone asks them for money.
These topics can be challenging conversations to have but are vital to your entire family’s well-being. Start small and build on the conversation as your parents begin to open up. All of these topics are crucial for their financial, health and overall well-being for years to come. For more information on any of these topics, please reach out to our team.