As your parents get older it is sometimes uncomfortable to have discussions about sensitive topics like healthcare and finances.  Most people in there 40’s and 50’s are beginning to think about having these conversations.  Many are worried about their parents especially if they have failing health and are living on their own.

Remember it is a good idea not to jump to conclusions or try to force a solution on a parent that isn’t ready.   Reframe from being too aggressive until you have gathered all the information about your concerns.  Observations and careful attention to any problems should be your first course of action.

Please don’t overreact if your parents need a little more help with household chores, meals or personal care.  This may mean that they may only require someone to come and help out 2-3 times a week.  It certainly doesn’t mean you need to start picking out a nursing home and putting their home up for sale.  Working together to find a solution that you are both happy with should be your primary goal.  Professional caregiving services can provide assistance in a number of areas such as meal preparation, light housekeeping or medication reminders.  One should always try to find a solution that provides continued independence for your parents so that they may continue to retire in decency and live with dignity as they age.

When it comes to finances, some parents are very independent and private about the handling of their money.  This is always a difficult topic to discuss but should be done if you see a decline in their standard of living and are concerned.  If you have a good relationship and trust one another, it is always a good idea to have joint bank accounts with your parents.  If anything where to happen to a parent, and you were not joint on their accounts, you would not be able to pay bills or look after their finances on their behalf, without a POA or Probated Will.

Health and finance discussions with a parent are always better to be done sooner rather than later when a crisis has occurred.  Keep the dialogue open and become a valued partner to your parent.  If they are open to it, meet their financial advisor and accountant.  Make sure they have a Will, POA, and talk to them about their final wishes.   Together you can ensure everyone is cared for, respected and appreciated.