While sitting across the dining room table from my dad, it struck me how frail he looked. Equally startling was I wasn’t sure when it had happened. Had I been that preoccupied? Sure, my life was busy, but had I been that distracted? I felt overwhelming guilt. I laid in bed that night and realized I had so many questions. Dad and I had never talked about aging or “next steps” because he was such a proud man and I never wanted him to feel like I was insinuating he couldn’t handle things on his own. Now I watched the night tick by and wondered if he was worried too…if he was aware of his declining health…. if he had a plan in order….
I am guessing my story is not a unique one. In fact, I know that it is not based on the number of calls we receive from worried sons and daughters- wanting to help and concerned about what the future holds for their loved ones.
To avoid feeling overwhelmed, take action. Be sure your own family’s LifeMap is set. Then, start conversations with your siblings and your parents. We recommend tackling the following topics:
- Start by identifying everyone who needs to be involved in ongoing conversations.
- Open up dialogue.
- Share your concerns, but be sure to listen to your parent’s perspective.
- Get everyone on the same page regarding communication and developing a plan.
- NOTE: Before taking in a parent, be sure to complete a “caretaker agreement.”
- Raising the topic of housing can be a hard conversation, but it is a necessary one to have.
- Have an honest discussion about your loved one’s ability to stay in their home, the location of family members to offer assistance, long term care options, and preferences.
- NOTE: It is better for all involved to have these conversations as part of planning than waiting until a crisis necessitates decisions.
- Some questions to ask: Do mom and dad have a financial advisor? What kinds of insurance? Where are important documents kept? Have mom and dad established an estate plan? Is it up to date?
- End of life issues are critically important to address. Having open conversations with your parents will allow you to honor your parents’ wishes and will provide you peace in knowing that they will be cared for.
As a parent busy raising a family and a child of an aging parent, you carry a lot of responsibility. Contact us for a free consultation. Trade worry for relief and relax knowing you do not need to handle this alone.