As your parents get older, their health and abilities will change over time. There are many lifestyle and care options available for older adults depending on their preferences, budget and healthcare needs. It’s important to discuss your parent’s future in advance so that you can understand what they want and to start planning as a family. This can be a difficult conversation to have, so here’s our advice on how to approach it to make it comfortable and productive for everybody involved.
Don’t Wait - Have the Conversation About Care Now
Have this conversation now, don’t wait until there is a crisis to make senior care decisions. Discussing your parent’s plans for aging in advance lets you fully discuss and understand what your parent wants and allows you to plan as a family to make it happen. Having the conversation early also ensures you know your loved one’s preferences in the event you have to act on their behalf if they are unable to.
Look For an Opening to Start the Conversation
Discussing your parent’s aging plans can be difficult, starting that conversation can be even harder! Instead of having the conversation out of the blue, look for an opening to start it in a natural way. A newspaper article, television show or events in a friend’s life can be an easier and more natural way to begin the discussion.
It can be hard for people to admit they could need help at home or a change in their living situation. They may avoid discussing the future out of fear or denial. If your conversation about how your parent wants to age isn’t successful the first time, keep trying. It may take a few attempts or different approaches until your parent feels ready and comfortable to talk.
Don't Forget to Talk About Money
However your parent would like to age, senior living and care can be expensive. Do they want to age in place or would they prefer to move to an assisted living facility? Do they have savings or insurance? Will they require financial assistance from family? Encourage your parent to think about different scenarios for the future, and what they would prefer for each one. Life doesn’t always go as planned, but you need to be prepared financially for whatever happens.
Bring Others Into the Conversation
You don’t need to have this conversation alone; include helpful family members or friends in the discussion. This can take the burden off of yourself, help the conversation flow and bring in different perspectives. Your parent may even prefer to talk to a doctor or senior care professional for a more objective look at their future options.
Whether your aging parent is still leading an independent lifestyle or they’re already utilizing the many available supports to assist or care for them, it’s important to keep discussing and planning for the future as they age in our Toronto community. If homecare is something your family is considering, tomorrow or 5 years from now, give our homecare agency a call today to discuss care options and how we can support your family.