Downs Law Firm, P.C.

Growing Older

Growing Older-Don’t Avoid a Conversations

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The talk may be difficult but may turn out to be necessary.

When someone dies or becomes disabled, the people who support and love that person are often in the position of walking into the middle of a movie and trying to figure out “What is going on?” As we age, sharing information ahead of time can be a big help.

It might not be the easiest conversation you have ever had. However, it is a good idea to have a talk with your loved ones about what steps to take as you go through the aging process, according to The Des Moines Register in “In 2019, resolve to have a difficult conversation.”

The person who is contemplating needing help, may want to start the conversation but the person who may be called on to help may find it too difficult to consider. Who wants to think about their parents getting frail and needing help going to the bathroom? No one.

The person who is starting to feel the impact of aging may already be aware of some limitations. However, talking with their children or potential caregivers may change the conversation from “someday” to “soon.” The loss of independence is one of the big milestones, just as gaining independence is a milestone earlier in life. That’s a hard thing to accept for both sides.

Those who have lived through this process of needing to become caregivers say that it would have been easier if they would have known what their loved ones wanted. So, would have been knowing what kind of help their loved ones could afford. It’s better to have time to research available resources in advance, rather than operating in crisis mode.

This is what your conversations need to address:

  • Medications, physical health, emotional well-being and health care providers
  • Their wishes, if their health declines slowly or rapidly. Do they want to stay at home? Who would they want to help with daily care?
  • Finances: Can they afford to pay for care at home? Has any Medicaid planning been done? What government programs are they eligible for? Do they have a CPA or financial advisor?
  • Estate plan: Where is their Last Will and Testament? Is there a Power of Attorney, Living Will or Medical Directive in place? Who is their estate planning attorney?
  • Documents, including birth certificates, Social Security, insurance cards, safe deposit box keys, computer passwords, etc.

Seven out of 10 people over age 65 will need help from others at some point. Most will need it for at least three years, so it might be wise to have the conversation before a difficult situation arises.Reference: The Des Moines Register (Dec. 19, 2018) “In 2019, resolve to have a difficult conversation”