McDonald Warner - Probate, Elder Law, & Special Needs

Talking to your parents about aging

When your parents begin to show the signs of age it can lead to many awkward feelings and conversations. There is a slow reversal of roles and it requires a delicate approach that shows respect and concern as you seek to make sure your parents are the best position for their level of health.

Do your parents need help with money or health care? Often, both parents and children trust that the other side will know what to do. When this happens, neither side initiates the conversation. Waiting too long can have serious consequences, whether it’s about independent living, medical decisions or predatory behavior by someone who takes advantage of the elderly.

Keep goals in mind

There are many resources online to help you through this situation. Many of these resources advise that, when it’s time for the talk, the adult children emphasize love, care and support throughout the conversation. It should focus on why this is an important topic and what the goals and benefits will be for your parents. If your parents feel insulted, shamed or attacked, they won’t respond well.

Words matter immensely. Remember why you’re doing this and get that point across, while maintaining a level of respect. Talk about your own finances or health decisions in the process, showing that you are knowledgeable but also respect their opinions. Ultimately, you should offer to help instead of presenting an ultimatum.

Depending on your family relationship and personalities, it’s common for parents to be taken aback by the discussion. It takes time for people to adjust to the effects of age and the limits it can place on their sense of freedom.

Protect both decision-making and property

Whether the conversation is about money, maintaining the family home or making medical decisions, remember that you have many different ways to share responsibility and to carry out your parents’ wishes. You can work together with your parents to create health care directives, for example, or discuss what role a trustee might have in overseeing the estate. Arizona estate planning is versatile for every situation. It’s not just an inheritance tool, but a way to take care of loved ones by protecting them through the challenges of the autumn years.

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