February 4, 2023

Have difficult talk with parents early about their future wishes | Boomer

Talking to your parents early about their wishes for the care they’d like to receive when they are older is an important step in preparing for a smooth transition once that time comes. A parent communicating these wishes ahead of time is likely to be more sound of mind, allowing them to lucidly convey what they want.

Nadine Glatley, owner of Rent a Daughter Home Health Care in Beachwood, and April Suva-Surovi, senior community relations specialist at Arden Courts in Bainbridge Township, Bath Township, Parma and Westlake, chimed in on the benefits of children having conversations with their parents in advance.

Glatley advised that parents should be “definitely making sure that their kids are not the ones that are taking care of them because they do decline.”

She stated that the wishes parents should lay out in advance are the kinds of care they desire, such as home health care or assisted living.

Glatley highlighted the importance of parents securing long term care insurance.

“I have a ton of people who call me and they say to me ‘now what’s the price’ and I tell them the price and I (say) ‘but, if you have long-term care insurance, it could possibly be covered,’” Glatley pointed out.

She added that people ask how they can get long-term care insurance, to which she replies that it must be secured in advance, before they become too old.

“It’s something that you would have had to pay into and have,” Glatley explained. “For young seniors to plan that out, I think that’s very important.”

Suva-Surovi stressed the importance of people being in control of their wishes regarding senior care.

“First and foremost, talking about the opportunity of being in control of your own choices is so important,” she said. “If the time comes when you are no longer (able) to make choices for yourself, who do you want to make those choices?”

Appointing someone to be in charge of their medical and financial affairs, as well as wishes regarding measures to sustain their lives, are also vital factors, she said.

Suva-Surovi further recommended laying out funeral wishes.

She suggested speaking to professionals when documenting these decisions, such as financial advisors, attorneys and people who specialize in long-term planning.

When searching for care for their parents, Suva-Surovi advised that children ask questions such as what kind of care they need, be it home care, physical therapy, assisted living, skilled care, memory care or long term care. Regarding physical therapy, she recommended asking how many hours are needed and at what level.

“I always suggest that families keep a journal of questions that they want to ask their medical professionals at appointments,” Suva-Surovi stated.

Common mistakes she said she sees are not having paperwork up to date regarding one’s wishes or not having any documentation of wishes at all.

“When it comes to your long term planning, being as detailed as possible about your wants will alleviate the stress of decisions on your children and other family members,” Suva-Surovi stated.