In the many conversations I have with today’s seniors, there is a sense of role reversal when life begins to change. Adult children, however, can be one of the most significant resources in proactively planning for your future. They are the best “sounding board” you could have as you begin to explore the available options.
While remaining the principal decision maker, your children can be a great resource to help facilitate conversations. These conversations will uncover the features and benefits of each available option. Open dialogue with your family is one of the most critical steps in implementing THE best plan for you. Your children’s participation in this process will also give them insight into your desires and wishes for the future.
By formulating a checklist of your desires and wishes, you will be better equipped to ask the right questions and implement the best plan at the most appropriate time. Your children will be of great help in this process as they often initiate questions that will drive further conversations. The more questions asked before your decision, the better equipped you will be to make the right choice.
Starting the Conversations
Caring News suggest the following discussion topics:
- Your health. Be transparent with your children about your health and any issues or concerns.
- Your retirement plans. How do you wish to spend your retirement? Will you travel more or move closer to the family?
- Your plans for senior living. What are your thoughts about moving to a retirement community? Do you prefer to stay where you are or downsize to a smaller home? If so, what kind of home modifications might need to be made?
- Your healthcare wishes. Make your intentions known regarding end-of-life care. What part will your adult children have in long-term care decisions? Do you have advance healthcare directives in place?
Don’t feel that you need to have one conversation about everything all at the same time. Take the time so that everyone involved understands your needs and wants. You may, in the course of these discussions, find things that you need to research further or discover items that you had not considered.
The discovery process is confusing, emotional and overwhelming. Unfortunately, this often leads to procrastination and inaction, which sadly is frequently followed by a sudden health crisis. Having your children as support and a sounding board will reduce the stress of this process. Hopefully, their involvement will lead to a proactive decision, keeping you in control of making decisions about the future.
The old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” is an unfortunate truth for many seniors as they often procrastinate in making decisions about their future. My encouragement is to be proactive in this process which will allow you to remain in the driver seat in making choices about your future. It will also remove emotional decisions from your children. It is indeed the greatest gift you can give them!
Check out these additional resources to help in your conversations!
Planning on continuing to live at home? Read From Home Modifications to Foot Care: Tips Decreasing Fall Risks
Feel free to contact us with any questions. We’re here to help!
Sarah Bishop is the director of Sales and Marketing for Blakeford at Green Hills. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.