The Conversation — How to initiate the conversation about care

Homewatch Care Caregivers provided the following information from its well written publication – The Guide to Legal and Financial Planning. The Guide contains the following information on Page 13:

Initiating the Conversation with Your Aging Parents

Family dynamics and the ways that family members have always related to each
other can sometimes get in the way of discussing legal and financial issues. Here
are five steps to help:

1. Don’t take the person by surprise. Tell him or her that you have something
important you want to talk about and do it in a comfortable, pleasant setting.

2. Use a situation you have gone through as a lead-in to your conversation.
“Mom, remember when Aunt Marilyn fell and broke her hip? And her kids ended
up selling her house to pay for the years of rehabilitative care she needed? It’s the
kind of situation we would like to avoid if we can. If we plan in advance, we can
be better prepared and be proactive in what options would be available.”

3. Ask if they should ever need care-short- or long-term-who they are counting
on to take care of them. Spouse? Family members? Kids? Outside professional
help? How would that decision impact the family dynamics and finances?

4. Listen carefully and stay focused on concerns. Let the parents or loved one
talk-about their fears and dreams for the future. There can be unexpected
rewards from communicating honestly, such as getting to know someone
in a whole new way and encouraging future discussions. This should be an
ongoing conversation; as situations evolve the conversation should, too.

5. Create a strategy and put it down in writing. From your conversation, what
does this future look like? Financial planning, estate planning and long-term
care planning are all connected. It’s important that the person write down
specific wishes so that everyone involved knows what is expected both today
and in the future.

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