Talking to your parents about how they wish to live and be cared for during their retirement is vital. Taking care of our parents is something for which many, but not all of us, are happy to take responsibility.
You understandably want to respect their wishes and make the later years in their lives as comfortable as possible. But that doesn’t mean that this is an easy conversation to have.
Some parents may not like the role reversal and some children may find it upsetting to talk about.
While it may be difficult, it’s essential that you take the time to do it now rather than later. To give you some much-needed advice, use the suggestions in this guide to help you.
The best way of starting a conversation as important as this is by being honest.
Let your parents know that you are concerned about their health and well-being and want to help them get organised.
You may find they have made some initial plans or know how they want to be cared for or where they want to live. But you may also find that they are not currently willing to discuss it.
Be patient and don’t be too forceful. Remember that this is a sensitive issue for them too.
But now that you have set the ball rolling, it may make them realise they need to make necessary preparations. So don’t give up, but be gentle and understanding in your approach.
Another way of starting the conversation is by asking where their documentation is kept. This should include wills, insurance details and their doctor’s contact number.
Explain that it’s important for you to know where they are kept, just in case they are in an accident or become ill.
This can give you the perfect opportunity to determine what has been arranged and what hasn’t.
For instance, you may find that your parents’ wills are no longer relevant and need to be updated. You can then suggest helping them get everything up to date and prepared.
This should then naturally start the discussion of how they want to spend their later years.
Talk through their options
Some elderly parents may not want to talk about retirement living and care because they don’t know what options are available to them. So visit informative sites like Churchill Retirement and show them the facilities and homes that are available.
Or you could call care providers who could visit them at home each day or organise a consultation face to face.
Gather plenty of information and talk through all of the options with them. They will appreciate the trouble you have gone to and the research will help them make a more informed decision.
Ask them what they would like and listen carefully to their answers. Even if it’s not the answer you want to here, again remember to be patient.
Whether it’s health issues, financial concerns or living needs, it’s always better to talk while your parents are still able.
That way you can help them make the necessary arrangements that will make their lives easier and more enjoyable as they get older.
Taking care of our parents can be done with love, tact and consideration if approached the right way.
Midlife mum from Cardiff. Wine Imbiber. Likes glitter, fluff and olives. Approaching tweendom with Caitlin (11) and Ieuan (10). The husband is hiding in the loft.
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