Planning For What Life Brings – Caring For Aging Parents
What is your next big life event? Will it be caring for your aging parents? In 2017, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs predicted that by the year 2050, the number of people aged 60 and older will have more than doubled. As our nation ages, many Americans are faced with caring for their aging parents. Whatever the circumstance, we want to help you successfully plan for and manage it, reducing the amount of stress that it may have on you or your family. HFG Wealth Management is your life planning specialist.
The worldwide population over the age of 60 is growing mainly in part due to healthier lifestyles and advances in modern medicine.
For many people, one of the most difficult conversations to have involves talking with an aging parent about extended medical care. The shifting of roles can be challenging, and emotions often prevent important information from being exchanged and critical decisions from being made. When talking to a parent about future care, it’s best to have a strategy for structuring the conversation and knowing what to ask.
Along with not procrastinating, it’s important to know the basic information regarding your aging parent’s healthcare, and be thorough when speaking to you parent and/or their doctor(s).
Understanding the Basic Information
Knowing ahead of time what information you need to find out may help keep the conversation on track. Here is a checklist that can be a good starting point:
- Primary physician
- Medications and supplements
- Allergies to medication
It is also important to know the location of medical and estate management paperwork, including:
- Medicare card
- Insurance information
- Durable power of attorney for healthcare
- Will, living will, trusts and other documents
Many physicians have a social worker on staff that can assist you, providing guidance, resources, and answers as how to best care for your parent through their stages of aging.
Try hard not to procrastinate speaking to your parent and/or doctor(s). The sooner you begin to communicate about important issues, the more likely you will be to have all the information you need when a crisis arises.
How will you know when a parent needs your help? Look for indicators like fluctuations in weight, failure to take medication, new health concerns, and diminished social interaction. These can all be warning signs that additional care may soon become necessary. Don’t avoid the topic of care just because you are uncomfortable.
Remember, whatever your relationship with your parent has been in the past, this new phase of life will present challenges for both of you. By treating your parent with love and respect and taking the necessary steps toward open communication, you will be able to provide the help needed during this new phase of life.
Be Thorough When Asking the Hard Questions
Remember that if you can collect all the critical information, you may be able to save your family time and avoid future emotional discussions. While checklists and scripts may help prepare you, remember that this conversation could signal a major change in your parent’s life. The transition from provider to dependent can be difficult for any parent and has the potential to unearth old issues. Be prepared for emotions and the unexpected. Be kind, but do your best to get all the information you need.
Communication is Key
This conversation is probably not the only one you will have with your parent about their future healthcare needs. It may be the beginning of an ongoing dialogue. Consider involving other siblings in the discussions. Often one sibling takes a lead role when caring for parents, but all family members should be honest about their feelings, situations, and needs.
Additional Resources from AgingInPlace.
At HFG Wealth Management, we embrace a method of financial planning known as Financial Life Planning™. We believe this is a financially effective and personally rewarding approach to creating a practical, lasting financial plan. As financial professionals utilizing the life planning approach, our purpose is to assist individuals, families and businesses in creating a long-term vision that is consistent with their core values. At HFG, we recognize that life events and life transitions can impact your financial responsibilities and your vision of the future. We are here to provide you with tips and strategies to get you started and help you reach your financial and life goals at every stage. For more information, please visit www.hfgwm.com or call 832.585.0110.
“The information contained herein is general in nature and may not be suitable for everyone. We encourage you to give us a call, to discuss your specific situation and to help determine the appropriate course of action.”