In a time when more of the population than ever is over the age of 60, many families are finding they need to talk with their ageing parents. Whether it is simply a matter of downsizing into a smaller apartment or assessing if they need to get extra help, this is a conversation many children of ageing parents are finding they need to engage in today. But even if all you see if a need to define what their version of senior living will look like in the next ten years, having this conversation is never easy. To get the ball rolling, here are three questions you should be bringing to the conversation.
Can They Live on Their Own?
While this may not be an immediate question, it is one every family should have with parents as they age beyond 65. You may see a parent who is healthy and still enjoying life, but things can shift quickly. If you discuss with them what they consider critical changes where they may need help, you can anticipate at what point you may need to step in.
Talk to your parents while they are still healthy about what their concerns are and how you can help them when the time comes. By having this discussion now, you can encourage them to think in terms of where they want to live, how much help they are willing to accept and what senior services are available to them now.
Your Home or A Home?
While it wasn’t that long ago that the accepted practice was for an ageing parent live with one of their children in their senior years, that may not be the case today. Many seniors have long healthy lives after retirement, and may simply want to continue to live in their own homes once they begin to slow down. But once they do, you should have a plan in place for where they want to live and how.
Many of the better senior retirement homes have waiting lists, some several years long. By exploring what you can both afford and are interested in, you can help them find the right place now. They may want to find a retirement center that allows you to migrate from your own condo to limited care to complete care within the same community. By getting on a waiting list now, they can avoid disappointment later.
Looking at Finances
Today so much of the country’s wealth is tied up in senior investments that many families are surprised to find out their parents are able to care for themselves quite fine into their senior years. None the less, it is still a good idea to go over a budget with them and discuss their financial plans before poor health or changes in their mental health make this difficult.
In addition, there are many very sophisticated scams out there that specifically target seniors. Have the discussion with them now about having them sound out any changes to their financial plans with you first to protect them from this kind of fraud. Remind them that you simply want to protect them, and the best way is to have two heads checking things out instead of only one.