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What Topics Should I Discuss With My Aging Parent?

What Topics Should I Discuss With My Aging Parent?

Discussing important issues with an aging parent can be difficult, however, it’s important to plan for the future. Waiting until a crisis happens to talk about things like health and living arrangements can cause an enormous amount of stress and anxiety. Instead, sit down and address these topics in advance to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to collaborate and put a plan in place.

Estate Planning

Find out if your loved one has an up-to-date will. If they plan to pass down property, have they consulted a financial advisor or lawyer to learn the best way to distribute their assets? How can their assets help cover costs if they experience a decline in health and require assistance or medical care? It’s important to speak with a professional and review plans regularly.

Long-Term Care Insurance

It’s never too early to plan for the likely possibility that your loved one will eventually require assistance. Medicare does not cover long-term care services, and the cost of care if paying out of pocket can quickly become overwhelming. Sit down with your loved one and help investigate long-term care insurance options if they aren’t already covered.

Medical Care

Does your loved one have one physician that oversees all of their care? Often, as people age, they visit several different doctors for separate medical issues, however it’s important to make sure that someone is in charge of coordinating their care to ensure overall health and wellness. Additionally, make sure your loved one keeps a current list of their medications and brings it to every appointment to avoid any negative drug interactions.

Avoiding Fraud

Sadly, some criminals intentionally prey on older adults in an attempt to steal their money or identity. Scammers view seniors as easy targets because they are thought to have substantial savings and may be vulnerable emotionally or cognitively. Talk with your loved one about common risks and scams that target seniors to help them avoid becoming a victim.

Living Arrangements

Find out where your loved one plans to live as they grow older. Do they want to stay living in their current home as long as possible? Or, do they plan to downsize to a smaller home, or move to a senior community? Studies show they will most likely express a desire to “age in place,” by staying in their current home. Discuss a plan should the need arise for additional care services, and help them research in-home care agencies, or assisted living options.

Home Safety

For seniors, at-home fall prevention is a priority when it comes to planning for the future. In many cases, this means making some simple home modifications to ensure they are able to age in place safely. Modifications such as installing grab bars or a walk-in shower in the bathroom, and making sure flooring is even and secure throughout the house can help prevent a potentially life-threatening injury. Evaluate your loved one’s home regularly and update safety features as needed.

Putting off having a discussion about sensitive issues with an aging parent will only make things harder down the road. If you need help working as a team with your loved one to plan for the future, you might consider enlisting a professional to help. Senior care experts such as geriatric care managers are experienced in helping families navigate the many issues related to aging. And, remember that advance planning will help everyone live as happily and stress free as possible.

If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation.  Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.

Carol Pardue-Spears

Carol has worked in the healthcare field for more than forty years. As a Certified Nursing Assistant, she worked for El Camino Hospital in the cardiac unit, Los Gatos Community Hospital, The Women’s Cancer Center in Los Gatos and several home health and hospice agencies. Carol founded Family Matters in 2002 to fill a deficit she witnessed in high-quality, in-home services and care.

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