Thursday, January 2, 2014
When you were a pre-teen, you may remember the uncomfortable experience of having ‘the talk’ with your parents. Well get ready for a role reversal. When your parents transition into older age, you’ll probably need to have a new ‘talk’ with them about issues surrounding the sunset of their life, such as wills, health care directives, nursing home preferences, and burial plots. Here are five steps for a successful ‘talk’:
- Be an advocate. It’s easy for adult children to come off as bossy during serious discussions like this. Be sure to approach sensitive subjects from a position of respect.
- Start now. Don’t wait for tragedy to strike. Start the discussion when everyone is healthy.
- Make documents the priority. You don’t necessarily need to know what’s in the will, but be sure to know that there is a will as well as powers of attorney for finances and health care.
- Tread lightly with finances. Parents may be uncomfortable divulging information about their finances. If that’s the case, learn the name of their financial advisor or accountant so you’ll know where to go if an issue arises.
- Provide emotional support. Being supportive is important as these discussions can elicit a whole range of emotions.
See Northwestern MutualVoice Team, Role Reversal: How to Have ‘The Talk’ with Your Aging Parents, Forbes, Dec. 18, 2013.