Four Important Topics to Discuss with Aging Parents
It’s natural for adult children to avoid discussing certain topics with their aging parents. It can be awkward and disheartening to ask such personal questions, especially if these questions have never been brought up. However, medical emergencies can happen in an instant, forcing many adult children to make difficult decisions on behalf of their parents.
October is National Long-Term Care Planning Month. It’s a great month to sit down with your aging parents and discuss these difficult topics. By addressing these matters now, you’re setting your parents and yourself up for success should an emergency occur in the future. If you aren’t sure where to start, here are four important topics to discuss with your aging parents.
Preferred Living Environment
The first topic you need to address centers around where your parents prefer to age. Do they plan to stay in their own home for as long as they can? Are they willing to receive help at home from a senior home care company, should they need it? Would they rather move to a senior retirement community, and when would they make such a move? Are there any other factors to consider regarding their ability to live alone, such as dementia or chronic health conditions? Discuss their ability to live independently and their willingness to accept help when you sense it’s time. Also, discuss their plans to pay for the care they may need and ask about any long-term care insurance policies they may have.
Power of Attorney
Another important topic to discuss is whom they have named as their power of attorney (POA) for health and finances. It could be the same person, or they can choose to designate separate people. The POA should know that they’ve been appointed. They should also understand your parents’ medical preferences should medical personnel need the POA to make decisions on behalf of your parents. Do they want to be resuscitated, on a feeding tube, or life support, and if so, for how long? All adult children should understand their parents’ wishes, regardless of whom they named has POA. This ensures that there is no contention when a critical decision needs to be made on your parents’ behalf.
While you’re discussing POA, you also need to learn where your parents keep their important legal documents, including their will or trust. The details can remain private until the appointed time. However, you should verify that they have a legal will or trust. Without one, their estate will be distributed according to the rules established by the state in which they reside. You should know where to find their legal documents, including their will or trust, home deed, insurance information, social security card, and birth certificate. The National Institute on Aging has a list of important papers older adults should have in order.
Although this last topic is particularly difficult, you need to discuss funeral arrangements with your aging parents. There is nothing worse than not knowing what they would have preferred and feeling guilty that you didn’t honor their life as they had hoped. Ask where they prefer to be buried or cremated. Do they already have a plot? What else have they prepaid? Where would they like their service to be? Who would they prefer to give their eulogy? Do they have a favorite quote or spiritual verse that they would like to be remembered by? Do they have any songs that they would like to be played during their service? If this conversation is too difficult, ask your parents to write it down. When the time comes, you’ll have a wonderful gift to help you finalize the details of their funeral.
Visiting Angels Jenkintown is here to help you navigate these important topics every adult child needs to discuss with their aging parents. Should they prefer to age-in-place, our senior home care services can help them remain safe and independent in the comfort of their own home. We’re not a referral service. Our caregivers are our employees. Before you interview a prospective Visiting Angels caregiver, we’ve already interviewed, recruited, screened, and trained them to be professionals we can be proud of, and you can trust. Choosing Visiting Angels for your parents’ senior home care services does not need to be another difficult conversation you have to face. You can have confidence knowing your parents will be in the best care with us. To learn more, please get in touch with us today by calling 215-938-7201.