As your parents get older, they will likely need some extra help. Older people tend to develop medical conditions and health issues that affect their ability to continue living independently. Speaking to your parents about their health and wellbeing can be challenging, and they may resist your help and attention. That said, it is important to have open discussions with your parents and plan for their future. This will help to ensure that your parents maintain a good quality of life as they get older and continue to live a healthy lifestyle on their terms. Sensitive topics such as elderly care, health, and financial management can be difficult to broach, but there are dozens of ways to make these conversations more comfortable for you and your parents. Here are four tough conversations to have with aging parents and suggestions to make these discussions easier.
1. Living arrangements
It is normal for older adults to find daily tasks more strenuous as they get older. For instance, your parents may find it difficult to get to the shops to buy groceries and prepare healthy meals. Living independently at home can become unsafe if your elderly parent develops health conditions like a physical disability or a cognitive disorder such as Alzheimer’s disease. If you are concerned about the safety of your parents, then you should have a conversation about their living arrangements. If your parents are still in good health, then you could suggest that they move to a more senior-friendly property such as a bungalow or ground floor apartment. This should help to minimize the risk of accidents and injuries in the home. You may also want to discuss the possibility of your aging parents moving in with you and living in a spare bedroom or detached living space such as a granny flat. That way, you can ensure that your parents are safe and that they receive the support they need as they get older.
Another option is to discuss the possibility of your parents moving into a senior living community. Senior communities are specially designed to provide older adults with a safe and secure living environment. They also encourage seniors to lead a more active lifestyle as there is access to fun events, and residents are encouraged to socialize with other seniors living at the facility. Care experts at https://frontiermgmt.com explain how their living communities “provide round-the-clock specialist attention and regular access to exciting social events.” Broaching the subject of assisted living can be a challenge, and you must avoid putting too much pressure on your parents. Instead, discuss the benefits and have a conversation about how a senior community could enhance their quality of life.
Money is a topic that many people find uncomfortable to discuss. However, at some point, you must discuss your aging parent’s financial situation and make a financial plan for their future. It would be best if you started by discussing where their money comes from, i.e., pensions schemes, social security, investments, savings, etc. Then, discuss whether they are spending more than they receive each month and find out whether they have any outstanding debt. If your parents are struggling to manage their money, then help them create a monthly budget based on their incomings and outgoings. You should also check that your parents aren’t overpaying for services such as internet and utility bills. Elderly care can be extremely expensive, and the average nursing care home costs $4,000 per month, according to payingforseniorcare.com. For that reason, you should have a conversation with your parents about how they plan on paying for any care services that they may need in the future.
3. Health & wellbeing
Most people develop medical conditions as they get older. Some of the most common elderly health issues include heart disease, diabetes, strokes, and dementia. You should speak with your aging parents regularly to check on their physical health. Keep in mind that many seniors feel anxious about acknowledging a health condition or seeking help. If you notice signs that an aging parent may be unwell, then encourage them to visit their doctor and have a health check-up. Many common elderly health issues can be effectively treated and managed with the correct treatment. At the same time, you should also pay close attention to your parent’s emotional health. Older people are generally at a higher risk of mental health issues like depression, especially if they have recently lost a loved one or live by themselves. Make an effort to stay in regular contact with your aging parents and check on their mental health and wellbeing.
The end-of-life talk is likely to be one of the most difficult conversations that you have with your parents. It is natural to feel upset when speaking about the death of your parents, but you must have a clear understanding of their final wishes. For example, ask them what their wishes would be if they develop a terminal illness. Ask your parents whether they have any preferences when it comes to their medical care and treatment, i.e., do they want a do not resuscitate order (DNR). You should also check whether your parents have drafted a will. If your parents die without preparing a will, then a significant amount of their estate is likely to be lost through legal fees and taxes. The dividing of the estate will also be much more lengthy and emotionally stressful for the family if there is no will. For that reason, you must discuss estate planning with your parents and encourage them to write a will. This will make the process far less stressful when they pass and will also ensure that their final wishes are met.
These topics can be difficult to bring up, but they are important and shouldn’t be avoided. Try to be open and honest with your parents and make an effort to discuss their health, wellbeing, and future. Use these tips to make difficult conversations with aging parents a little easier and less daunting.
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