It is imperative that you start talking to your parent(s) about their thoughts on their future. It may be hard to start, but below are some topic areas and suggested points to bring up or questions that you can start with to get the conversation going. Remember to keep the conversation ongoing as wishes and needs change over time...
It is critical that you have as complete an understanding of what is going on with your parent(s) in terms of their health and well-being as this can help you plan for potential future needs down the road.
Many older people experience increased difficulty driving, especially at nighttime, as their vision deteriorates. Unfortunately, these concerns often go unaddressed and ignored. Clearly, before an accident occurs, driving ability must be assessed.
In order to help your parent plan for future needs, it is critical that you have a sense of their financial situation. For example, can they afford assisted living? Ultimately, financial circumstances, as well as availability of family / friend / neighbor support, will be important to know for planning and future decision-making.
Many older adults have not documented how their assets are to be distributed upon death (Estate Plan) or directives about the medical treatment they want if they are unconscious (Living Will). This is incredibly important to know before a crisis occurs as such documentation can prevent painful disputes among surviving family members.
You need to start having a conversation about what they envision for the future, and ideally you need to start early while your parent is still functioning well, both physically and mentally.
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