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My parents won’t listen to me. My parents will not meet with an elder law attorney. My parents are very private. I do not feel comfortable bringing up these issues.
Many Boomers are at a loss when it comes to helping parents who are frail and/or in need of long term care. If the parents are unwilling to make sure they have a comprehensive plan in place, then I strongly urge the children to be pro-active.
They should go ahead and meet with an elder law attorney who can advise them as to what will happen if certain events occur (such as the need for someone to take control over decision making or if a parent is in need of nursing home care. What are the consequences of not having a plan in place and what steps can be taken at that time to provide for on-going decision making and/or arranging and paying for long term care.
It is not unusual when I have these meetings, that the children pick up on a particular point or action step that may resonate with the parents. Now, they feel comfortable having the conversation with their parents. Often, there will be less protection of assets; more stress in everyone’s life when there is no planning. Having a contingency plan will reduce everyone’s stress levels and allow the children to be more helpful when the crisis occurs.
So for example, the conversation will not be about divesting the parents of their assets but making sure they have a comprehensive durable power of attorney and health care proxy in place. Creating a relationship of trust may allow for a second stage of planning for your parents as well.
David Solie has authored: “How to Say It to Seniors” which gives great practical tips on how to have the conversation with your elderly parents.
My point is this: YOU can only Manage Transition for your Parents if you are pro-active today.