Change is guaranteed. This may happen more frequently as our parents age. What to do? How to plan? Here are three suggestions from our clients experiencing transitions first-hand as well as a timely checklist.
For many of us, helping our aging parents figure out new living arrangements or making at-home care and living adjustments may be something you are dealing with now, or will be at some point down the road. It will depend on their health, their needs, their preferences and, of course, their financial ability. Since no two situations are exactly the same, we made a list of three common considerations our clients have shared that may facilitate a conversation, spur action, or provide food for thought if and when that day comes.
Communication is key
Talk with your parents. Understand their feelings, their fears, and their preferences. This resource written by AARP suggests several ways to approach the conversation.
Communication with siblings or other family members is also important and may not always be easy or smooth. Assess the situation, validate others’ opinions and, if an impasse remains, invite expertise from doctors, caregivers, and social workers. Keep your cool and take the high road; you won’t win every battle. As loved ones age situations change, and it may take some time for all parties involved to get aligned with what is best.
Make it a point to go with your parents to their doctor appointments on occasion. We all know most doctors don’t have the band-width to assess subtle changes going on with their patients. If you notice changes in your parent’s behavior/mental state/activity level, make sure that that is being communicated to their doctors.
Make a list of key individuals who you can call to request information and/or communicate with on your parent’s behalf. Consider:
Start a conversation with your parents if they have not already filled you in on their financial situation. Key planning includes:
A financial plan will help everyone involved understand what the realistic options are for longer-term living arrangements and level of care. It is important to know what is affordable depending on the type of care needed, whether staying at home or if a move is required. Planners can also help determine how long funds will last as well as recommend cash flow and tax optimization strategies. Mosaic Fi provides full service financial planning for our clients with aging parents. We can also provide you with local resources and specialists to consult during this process.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Unfortunately, changes to an elderly parent’s health and level of care can happen quickly and unexpectedly. As aging continues, health continues to change too. This can get especially complicated if one parent is healthy and self-sufficient and the other can no longer care for him or herself. It is hard to predict the type of care needed and when. So what can you do?
Jenifer Aronson is the Founder of Mosaic Fi.