Having the talk with your parents about senior care is like riding a roller coaster. We wait around, passing the hours, chitchatting with our loved one about nothing really important… but then it’s inevitable and we’re seated on the ride. The gears are turning, you’re slowly coasting along the track and then… you start going up. As you rise, you look around and see all the warning signals and signs. You know what’s coming, but still you won’t say a word, dreading that plunge wondering why you didn’t prepare yourself sooner. And then you drop… and start screaming.
This is usually the point at which adult children come to us for help. Once the screaming stops, we usually have a very good conversation about their parents’ wants and needs. Then, almost always, the adult children respond with, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”
We know why. You don’t want to have the talk with your parents about senior care. You wait until it’s unavoidable and you’re in panic mode because there are no plans in place. So, if you have the talk beforehand, you can avoid the stress, the panic, and the guilt.
The Best Time to Have “The Talk” with Your Parents
The best time to have the talk with your parents about senior care is before you ever need to. Imagine the roller coaster metaphor again. You’re waiting in line, there is still time to exit. There is no sense of impending doom. Everyone is having a good time. So why not bring it up? Okay, no more roller coaster metaphors from here on out.
Having the talk with your parents about senior care is similar to talking about death. Nobody wants to talk about death and dying when someone is actually dying, but when you hit 30 and you’re thinking about your kids’ future, then that’s usually when you spring a little extra for life insurance. You want to make sure your family is protected in the event of your death. It’s not morbid or dire, it’s a consideration.
Ideally, that’s how the “elder care talk” should be. Your parents are happy and healthy. They’re mowing their own lawn, paying their own bills, and enjoying their retirement. That’s the time to ask. It’s not irrelevant, just something to plan ahead for. Since this is the ideal scenario and your parents are healthy, they’ll probably laugh it off, but ask in all seriousness and they’ll tell you exactly what they want.
Guess what? Stress, panic, guilt? It’s all over. They have a plan for you. In fact, it’s probably something they think about often, but don’t want to burden you with. So now, knowing that you’re open to it, it’s something you can talk about freely… or never again if you’d prefer because now, you have a plan.