Dear Family Resource,
I am the only child of parents who are in their late 70’s and very active. We have never discussed what they want to do as they age; where to live, how much money they have, do they want to be buried or cremated, who will manage their estate or have power of attorney, etc. I am already feeling the burden of taking care of these things and I don’t know what they want! How do I start this conversation?
Dear Petrified Daughter,
These conversations are never easy, but very important to have. Look for an avenue into the conversation, maybe a friend died or had a stroke or maybe one of your parents made a comment about their own mortality. You can start slow and discuss one area at a time or let it all out; letting them know you love them and want to make sure you know their wishes as they age.
Some important things for you to find out are; who is on their team? Do they have an accountant, attorney, or investment advisor? Do they have a will? Do they have long-term care insurance or other insurance policies? Bank accounts and investments? Do they have an Advanced Directive or a Power of Attorney for medical and financial? Where do they keep this information? Do they want to remain at home or move to a senior community? Do they want a memorial service, burial, cremation?
It is important for you to make lists of who, what, and where these things are, and to encourage your parents to make an Advanced Directive if they have not already. Check out this AARP link for more helpful information. https://assets.aarp.org/www.aarp.org_/articles/foundation/aa66r2_care.pdf
Good for you for planning ahead, and good luck.