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The Holiday season can be a trigger for changes in family dynamics.  Often times out-of-state children will meet with their parents for the first time in a year or more.  Changes in the parent’s conditions may seem more pronounced after the period of absence.  How do you address your concerns to your parents without seeming disrespectful?  It can be a daunting task to suddenly need to be the advisor or caregiver for your parents.  Planning for long-term care will likely make everything go smoother.  With the holidays and family time here, it may be a good time to talk about long-term care planning.  When talking to your parents about long term care, try using the following tips:

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Remember that this is likely as challenging for them as it is for you.

 As people age, there can often be a lot of fear surrounding the loss of control and independence.  There may also be feelings of embarrassment with their children they always fared for now caring for them.  Since you will likely have spent time thinking and preparing for the conversation, extend your parents the same courtesy by not ambushing them.  Consider calling or sending an e-mail a few days before your planned conversation, letting them know you would like to talk about their long-term care plan.

This is about their wishes too. 

While you may have your own ideas about what is best for your parents, allowing them to participate meaningfully in the decision-making process also allows them to retain their dignity.

Provide information about long term care. 

Your parents may want to do long-term care planning, but have found the entire process overwhelming.  If you have done some research on wills, long-term care insurance, life care planning, life insurance, and Medicaid planning, you may be in a good position to help them understand some of the basics.

Offer to assist. 

Instead of just providing information and leaving your parents to do the rest, offer to see the long-term care process through with them.  For example, you can assist them in locating an elder law attorney and attend the appointments with them.

Consider another messenger to talk about long term care. 

You know the old saying about lashing out at the ones you love the most.  If the talk does not go as planned, consider having a more neutral party, such as their physician, broach the topic and then you can step in to assist.

While discussing long-term care planning with your parents can feel uncomfortable, you can take comfort in knowing they can relax in their golden years, once they have a secure plan for long-term care.  For assistance establishing a long-term care plan, please reach out to our office to schedule a telephone consultation.