You have been noticing that your mother or father appears to be in cognitive decline. But you wonder when to have a healthcare conversation with your parents? Waiting until a senior’s decline is apparent may already be too late, says CNBC’s recent article entitled “Waiting to talk finance with an aging parent in cognitive decline is a mistake, experts say.”
Adult children should be talking to their elderly parents about this while they’re still working because they’re still competent and still able to fund long-term care and pay the premiums from income.
Some incidents that could trigger these conversations include a parent thinking about downsizing, claiming Social Security, going on an extended trip, or finding out one of their friends is going into long-term care.
Adult children should ask questions to get a clear sense of their parents’ financial situation. However, they should understand that getting this information may take several discussions.
Here are questions to ask your parents in stages, over a period of time (from least uncomfortable to most):
- Where do you keep your financial and estate planning documents?
- What assets do you have and what are your debts?
- Is it possible to meet with your advisors to have a good understanding in the event of a crisis?
- Who are your healthcare professionals?
- What medications do you take and where’s your pharmacy?
- Do you have long-term care insurance or other plans for long-term care?
- What are your wishes as to end-of-life care and funeral plans and expenses?
- If you have a medical crisis, what kind of treatment do you want?
Evaluate your parents’ responses with the help of an elder law attorney to these basic questions and plan the next steps.
There’s some paperwork that should be done at this point, if it hasn’t already. This includes a power of attorney, healthcare directive and a living will. Do not wait to have a healthcare conversation with your parents. Discuss your options and seek advice from an experienced Elder Law attorney. If you are interested in learning more about Elder Law, please visit our previous posts.
Reference: CNBC (Nov. 30, 2021) “Waiting to talk finance with an aging parent in cognitive decline is a mistake, experts say”
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