Family Conversations About Long-Term Care
We have many important conversations within our families. With young children we need to answer the “Where did I come from?” question. When they approach the teenage years, we find ourselves discussing the same topic with a bit more detail. As they begin to think about careers, we try to help them formulate life goals. When we have aging parents, we also need to have a family talk. Recently, we wrote some initial thoughts on how to approach the subject of long-term care with your elderly parents. One question that is probably weighing on your parents’ minds is, “What’s going to happen when I can no longer take care of myself?” At Phelps LaClair firm (located in Chandler, Mesa, and Phoenix Arizona), we have a few additional suggestions to help you have those family conversations about long-term care.
The Sooner the Better
“Time waits for no man” is an apt expression when discussing long-term care. The sooner you act, the more options you’ll have available to you. Planning ahead is essential. If you feel intimidated about having “The conversation,” click on this link for some tips on how to prepare. It’s even possible that when you express your concern for your parents to them, they could feel relieved. Knowing that there is a plan in place and that they will be taken care of can bring them freedom from worry and confidence to live fully. That is one reason for not putting off the discussion.
Needs and Desires
The conversation about long-term care is really about needs and desires. It is about what will be needed for a fulfilled life when a parent can no longer take care of themselves. It is also about how they desire to spend their time. If they need fulltime care, will they thrive in a social environment? Or will they do better with more privacy? There are options available for each need. Discovering their preferences and what they want to avoid is going to give them a sense of power over a vulnerable time in their lives.
As we’ve mentioned before, it’s often not easy for the elderly to talk about their finances, but it is vitally important. You need to understand their financial situation in order to help them make the best decisions. Do they have an estate plan in place that includes a living trust or will; have they appointed a power of attorney; do they have a living will that addresses end-of-life decisions? The answers to these questions will guide you regarding the next steps that need to be taken. From this point, you can plan together for a future that is tailored for their best interests.
At Phelps LaClair in the Phoenix Valley, we welcome your questions about long-term care planning. We’ve helped hundreds of families prepare successfully for the future by setting in place estate plans that include being ready for unexpected costs of long-term care. While you’re helping your folks by having family conversations about long-term care, we welcome the opportunity to help you with any questions about elder law, elder care, and estate planning.