Talk about Caregiving Wishes while your Parents are Healthy

My mom pulled me aside at the last family get-together we had at her house. She said, “I need to tell you something, and I don’t want you to get upset.” Never a great way to start any conversation, but then she led me to the guest bedroom and showed me a file folder case and said, “This is where I keep all of my important documents, should anything ever happen.” What a relief! It is so incredibly important to talk to our loved ones about when the time comes to deal with retirement plans, finances, and caregiving.

Some families are so hush-hush about the whole thing, as though talking about it could make it come faster somehow. Whether we talk about it or not, we are all getting older, and some of us are going to need help later in life. 70% of people turning age 65 will need long-term care (LTC) at some point in their lives. That’s why it’s so important to have these discussions, make decisions while we’re able, and look into long-term care insurance while we’re healthy.

The LTC discussion doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, we recommend taking a light approach to the topic, and even inserting a little humor, as appropriate.
The LTC discussion doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, we recommend taking a light approach to the topic, and even inserting a little humor, as appropriate.

Talk to your parents about their retirement plans, where they plan on living, if they’re keeping the house, and what age they think they can quit working. If that goes well, you could ask where they keep their important documents, and if they have any LTCI. And if that goes well, you could dive even deeper and ask each parent what they would do if the other passed first.

Speak to your spouse about their willingness and ability to help out physically around a parent’s house, financially if your parents aren’t able, or (gulp) if a parent were to ever need to move in. Chat with your siblings about who’s doing what when it comes to mom and dad’s affairs, and who is listed on important legal documents in what roles. Make sure your children visit grandparents on a regular basis, take them out to eat, check on general welfare and report back to you if need be. Also talk to your parent’s neighbors and make sure they have your contact information should they ever need it.

“It’s so important to have these discussions, make decisions while we’re able, and look into long-term care insurance while we’re healthy.”

Mom and I have a great relationship and we talk very openly about all these things. I know she plans to work until age 65, and she would ideally move to Florida sooner rather than later. I know her wishes should she be in a terrible accident, I know how she would like to be cared for when she needs additional help, and I even know how she wants her funeral to go. It doesn’t make me sad or uncomfortable to have these conversations. It’s comforting that she will receive the care and treatment to her exact wishes and feel at peace with how things proceed.

Have these conversations with your loved ones today, and should you need information about long-term care insurance, contact one of our specialists and provide peace of mind to your family and financial security to your retirement.