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No one wants to think about planning for possibly needing some form of long-term care or death, but it is an important conversation we all need to have. People aged 65 and older have a nearly 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care.

When we develop a plan in advance for your parent’s possible care and their estate, everything is easier for everyone! Planning early also allows for more options both for finding care and paying for care. 

Before you sit down with your parents to have this conversation, think about how they feel about aging and how accepting they are of the possible need for long-term care. Even if you think you know best, your parents still need to give consent for any decisions involving their long-term care and estate planning.

Keep in mind that this conversation is part of a supportive, collaborative process where you will hear and address any concerns your parents might have. But to help you get started, here are some tips on talking with your parents about long-term care and estate planning.

1. Do Your Own Research Before

It is important to understand the basics of long-term care and estate planning yourself before beginning the conversation with your parents. Take the time to become knowledgeable about the types of care available, as this will help you when you have this conversation with them. 

Also, research what might happen if they do not have some type of Will or Trust in place. With this information, you will lessen their fears by providing educated answers to questions they might have.

It is normal to experience feelings of guilt when you consider long-term care for your parents. Despite your feelings, realize that you are looking out for their best interests. There may come a time when your parents need more care or supervision than you have the knowledge or time to provide. By planning and taking your parents’ wishes into account now, long-term care can provide the quality of care and life your parents need and deserve in a safe, secure environment. 

2. Incorporate It Into A Natural Conversation

Try to broach the subject naturally and talk about it in a way that meets your parents’ needs. It would help if you also thought about the best approach for your family. Would your parents respond well to a one-on-one conversation with you, or would it help to have the input of other family members, too? A long-term care plan should also include care guidelines for your family. These guidelines provide everyone with more in-depth, thoughtful guidance about your parent’s health care, long-term care, and end-of-life care wishes.

Maintain a low-stress level throughout the conversation. A simple way to accomplish this is to make it appear like it is just another discussion. If your parents are already preparing documentation such as living wills or healthcare directives as part of their estate planning, you can use that to launch the conversation.

3. Ask and Listen

Even though long-term care planning is in the best interest of everyone in your family, it’s still important that your parents consent to everything and guide the overall process. Ask your parents what their wishes are, what concerns they have, and what an ideal care plan looks like for them. Remind your parents why planning is essential. Be sure to:

  • Listen and take notes if necessary
  • Add in your suggestions where appropriate
  • Present options and ask for input
  • Take your time and try not to rush

Ready to Help Your Parents Establish a Plan?

Our team at Carolina Family Estate Planning and the Alzheimer's Planning Center understand that developing a long-term care plan is about not just about protecting your parents’ independence and dignity but also protecting those they love from the physical, emotional, and financial toll that caring for a loved one can take.

Call our office at 919-443-3035 to discuss the best way for you to get started. The earlier you begin planning, the more powerful your options will be and the amount of peace and security we can provide.

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