Talking About Long-Term Care
Nobody likes having difficult conversations, especially when it involves aging parents. When it comes to money, getting older, or a loved ones health, it can be easy to avoid planning for difficult times. But making decisions early can reduce stress during a crisis when emotion is high and time is short. Use these tips to start the conversation about potential long-term care needs.
Reasons People Avoid Talking About Long-Term Care
- Fear of seeming insensitive, or feel it is none of their business.
- Unsure of what to say.
- Believe the government or their health insurance will help pay for care.
- They don’t think they can afford insurance protection.
- They don’t think they will ever need long-term care.
Get the Discussion Started
- Ask questions: Know the concerns and worries of the other person before you express your own concerns.
- Use someone else’s situation as a lead-in: Often, seeing a friend or neighbor forced to sell their home to pay for their own long-term care creates a tangible reality, but your parent is removed enough so that talking about it less confrontational.
- Ask how they envision their own short- or long-term care playing out: Where would they want to live? Who do they want caring for them? What impact will this have on their family or finances?
- Listen. Stay focused on their concerns: Letting your parents or loved one talk about their concerns and dreams for their future can offer unexpected rewards from getting to know them in a new way, and can encourage future discussion.
- Write down a strategy: After the conversation, write down what you came up with and what needs to be done. It is important to write down specific wishes so that everyone involved knows what to expect today and in the future.
These tips are helpful to get the conversation going. As life continues and evolves, so should the conversation. Having this groundwork in place better prepares you for talking with a long-term care specialist. What ideas have you used to start difficult conversations with your parents or loved ones? Comment below!