Planning for the Future with Your Loved One
As your loved one progresses in age, it is inevitable that questions about the future arise. Broaching the subject of how your care recipient would like to live out their remaining days if they can no longer offer input, is not easy. Most caregivers attempt to have this difficult conversation more than once, often finding that their loved one is quick to change the subject.
The list of what ifs are not meant to cause your loved one emotional distress. They should help to facilitate a plan so that their wishes are carried through and you’re not left guessing what they might have wanted.
Before discussing your options with your loved one, you may consider seeking a legal professional to address the possible situations and aid in the planning. Visiting a lawyer on your own will allow you to ask whatever questions you want without feeling uncomfortable or worrying about how your concerns affect your loved one. By being blunt, expressing your fears and getting all the necessary information, you will be better able to discuss the available options.
Approaching the Subject
Keep your conversations short, informative and seemingly impromptu. Discussing how the plan will affect you takes some of the pressure off of your loved one. Present your plan by prefacing it with “In case I have any problems,” and ending it with “What do you think?” Or simply tell your loved one, “I need your help with something.” By asking for their opinion your loved one will see that their input matters in the decision making process, and they may offer some good advice as well.
Wrangling your Support Group
Caregivers often find that their world is somewhat closed off to interactions with others. If you are not in a support group, you may not be able to find friends who have been down this road. Therefore, you may not be able to seek advice from your current friends to learn from their experiences. However, there are plenty of resources and articles available on the subject.
Getting your siblings involved can be both a blessing and a curse. Caregiving duties are almost never distributed evenly and the brunt of the work typically falls on one individual. Discussing end of life topics with your family may result in a splattering of opinions when figuring out how to best approach the issue. Before bringing up the issue with your parent, make sure all of your siblings are on the same page. The discussion will go a lot more smoothly and you can avoid misunderstandings.
Getting Finances in Order
Private banks tend to offer more programs for seniors when it comes to financial resources, since they pride themselves on developing close relationships with depositors. Talking to your banker regarding escrow accounts, eldercare and investment options will provide you with valuable information.
Now May be a Good Time to Get your Plans in Order as Well
Lawyers often encourage their clients to get their funeral arrangements in order while thinking about their parent’s future. Focus your efforts on the positive aspects of planning. If plans are not squared away in advance, the court may have to be called in and the family may find they have very little say in the decision making process.