Let’s face it; planning for old age is not exactly a fun topic of conversation. Most of us want to avoid even thinking about our own mortality, much less planning for it. Unfortunately, avoiding the subject doesn’t delay the inevitable and, with the entire baby boomer generation getting older, it’s important to talk with your parents about their wishes.
According to the latest statistics, about one in four people over the age of 75 have not discussed their wishes concerning old age or devised a plan for end of life care. That’s because most people think of death as something that’s too far in the future to worry about. In fact, only about 11 percent of seniors have written down their wishes for funeral plans.
Don’t Wait Until it’s Too Late
Although many adult children have become more confident in talking with their parents about death, they still don’t discuss the details. When older adults grow critically ill or die and their children don’t know what to do, they are often left with feelings of regret and guilt. That’s why it’s so important to talk about these things early instead of waiting until it’s simply too late.
When Should You Start Planning?
Generally speaking, most experts agree that once a parent reaches the age of 70 or an adult child reaches the age of 40, it’s time to start planning for old age. That means you and your parent(s) need to sit down and have an open, honest conversation about how they would want you and your siblings to handle certain situations.
What Details Should the Plan Include?
It’s important to understand that your parents don’t need to be terminally ill to make plans for the future. Some of the most important things an old age plan needs to include are: a will, medical directives, plans for future long-term care/support and funeral wishes.
It’s so beneficial to have this information planned out in advance. For example, if a senior becomes unable to live independently, you will already have a care plan established. That means your family can avoid the chaotic period of trying to figure out who Mom is going to live with or wondering if Dad would be open to an assisted living facility. Most importantly, it puts the older adult in control of his or her own destiny and that’s something that makes the whole family feel better.