Watching parents get older is difficult, isn’t it? They’re the ones who take care of us when we’re young. They’re our rocks in times of adversity, our teachers when we don’t understand something, and our knights in shining armor when we need help. They seem ageless and invincible when we’re children.
Then, we grow up and move out on our own, and everything changes. It all seems so sudden. One minute, they’re carrying us, and the next minute we may need to carry them.
In many cases, mom and dad are reluctant to admit they need help. In their eyes, letting their children know they may not be ready for retirement and beyond could be a sign of weakness. In a way, it may take away their freedom and dignity. That means having a conversation with aging parents about finance, senior living, and other relevant matters could be a bit difficult. Consider the following tips to help make things a bit simpler.
Develop a Plan
First and foremost, create a plan for discussing finances with your parents. Don’t go into the conversation unprepared. If you do, it could quickly enter a downward spiral and be unproductive. Research the questions you want to ask them about income, savings, insurance coverage, and other factors. Include questions about whether they have wills and if they’ve considered assisted living options should the need arise.
In addition to making a list of essential questions to ask mom and dad, think about how you’re going to initiate the conversation. How will you approach the subject? If they seem unwilling to talk about their financial situation, what will you do? Create a backup plan in case they’re reluctant to talk about their future. Give yourself ample time to plan for the conversation.
Choose the Right Time
Be sure to choose the right time and place for a financial conversation with your parents. Experts strongly advise against bringing up the topic at family gatherings. Those may seem like the perfect opportunities since everyone is already together and in a festive mood, but quite the opposite is actually true. At events like these, stress levels tend to be high, and distractions are everywhere. Additionally, there’s virtually no privacy.
This type of conversation needs to take place in private when everyone involved is calm and collected. Distractions should be kept to a minimum. Picking the right time and place for a conversation like this can make a world of difference in its outcome.
Don’t Talk about Money Right Off the Bat
One way to make financial conversations with aging parents less awkward is to initially skirt around the topic of money. Start the conversation with something less precarious and more lighthearted. That might entail asking mom and dad about their plans for retirement. Are they looking forward to taking it easy? Are they going to make certain lifelong dreams become realities? Are they considering moving or planning to stay in their current home?
All those questions may not directly address the concerns plaguing your mind but can help open the door for more serious topics. Starting by getting mom and dad to open up about their upcoming plans could help prevent them from shutting down once money enters the conversation. That’ll give you the opportunity to ask financial questions later on and increase the likelihood of getting straightforward answers.
Kindness and Patience Go a Long Way
Many families approach their parents with a tone of fear, anxiety, or urgency when trying to discuss financial matters. They generally don’t get very far. Instead, keep kindness and understanding at the forefront. Don’t demand answers; ask for them. Rather than pushing your parents to make decisions, encourage them to do so. Let them know you love them and are concerned for their well-being. You simply want to see that they have a plan in place so they won’t struggle later on.
If they don’t have a plan, ask how you can help. Offer to help them explore their options for memory care communities, financial resources, medical care, and other aspects they may be concerned about. Furthermore, don’t try to take charge. Let mom and dad know you’re there to help but they’re still in charge of the situation.
Catering to Aging Parents’ Needs
At Crescendo Senior Living, we’re dedicated to helping seniors live the best lives possible. We offer an array of medical care, lifestyle services, social events, and other options to fully meet the diverse needs of our residents. Our residents are our top priority, and we’re proud to provide a well-rounded community where seniors can feel at home.