Published on December 01, 2018

Have “The Talk”

Remember sitting down with your parents for “the talk?” Now, it’s your turn. Except the topic isn’t the birds and the bees. It’s their long-term care plans. And, yes, it will be just as awkward.hands holding coffee mugs

For many families, talking about finances, advance care plans and care at the end of life isn’t easy. A little prep work can get the conversation started on a smooth path.

Give them a heads up. Let your parents know you’d like to talk with them about their plans. Set up a specific time and place. Invite any siblings so everyone hears the same message. Use Skype or FaceTime if family members live out of town.

Communicate clearly and carefully. Make sure your parents understand the goal is for everyone to understand their wishes. Listen carefully to what they say, and ask how you can support them. Avoid asking “why” questions, which may make your parents feel as if you are questioning their decisions.

Skip some details. If talking about money makes your parents uncomfortable, don’t ask for exact dollar amounts. All you need to know is that they have enough money to care for themselves as they age. However, knowing if they have a will and/or trust, an advance healthcare directive, a durable power of attorney and where to find important documents is need-to-know information.

Take baby steps. These types of talks aren’t usually once-and-done. Cracking open the door may be as far as you get during the first conversation. That’s OK. The next time will be a little easier.