How to talk to aging parents about their future can be difficult, but it is a vital discussion to have.
This conversation can be about their funeral arrangements, but it can also be about other end-of-life planning, such as their wishes for medical care and where they want to live. Here's what you can do as an adult child for your parents to help them with their end-of-life planning.
How to Talk to Aging Parents About Their Future
While these conversations are certain to be uncomfortable, there are ways to make them less fraught or stressful for both you and your parents. You owe it to them to approach the topic seriously and with your full attention. It is important to discuss all of these issues with your parents and to make sure they have a plan in place, on everything from whether they want to be resuscitated should that issue ever arise, to whether they'd prefer burial or cremation. This will help to ensure their wishes are respected and their affairs are handled smoothly. Here are some key points to consider on how to talk to aging parents about their future.
- Choose the right time and place. This is not a conversation to have in the middle of a busy day or when your parents are feeling stressed or tired. Choose a time when you can both relax and focus on the conversation.
- Be honest and direct. Don't beat around the bush. Tell your parents that you are concerned about their future and that you want to make sure they have everything they need.
- Be prepared for their reaction. Your parents may not be happy to talk about death and dying. They may get angry, sad, or even deny that they are aging. Be prepared for their reaction and be patient. You may need to stop and revisit another day.
- Listen to their wishes. This is not about what you want for your parents. It is about what they want. Listen to their wishes and respect their decisions.
- Offer your help. Let your parents know that you are there to help them with whatever they need. This could include helping them to make funeral arrangements, find a lawyer, or create a will.
What End-of-Life Planning for Parents Should Entail
End-of-life planning isn't just one thing. It can include a variety, all of which require you to be successful and respectful in how to talk to your parents about their future. It's true that a major part of end-of-life planning includes funeral arrangements, which will detail topics such as the type of funeral, the location of the funeral, and the music and readings that will be included. However, financial and legal planning are also often part of the conversation as well. This can include making sure your parents have the financial resources they need to cover their end-of-life expenses as well as making a will, a living will, and appointing power of attorney.
Meanwhile, other important aspects of end-of-life planning aren't exclusively concerned with what will happen after your parents are gone. Medical care and living arrangements also typically need to be made for aging parents. This includes deciding on what kind of medical care your parents want to receive, such as whether they want to be resuscitated or placed on life support. It also includes deciding where your parents want to live, such as again in their own home, enjoying an independent living retirement community, or, when the need arises, being in a nursing home.
How Adult Children Can Help Parents Pre-Plan Their Funeral
There are many ways that adult children can help their parents pre-plan their funeral. Here are a few ideas:
- Start the conversation. As mentioned earlier, it is important to start the conversation early. This will give your parents time to think about their wishes and make plans long in advance. This is especially important because it would take a while for your parents to come to grips with the importance of planning.
- Be a resource. If your parents are not sure where to start, offer to help them research options. There are many resources available online and in libraries. MemorialPlanning.com is a powerful resource for advance planning.
- Be supportive. This is a difficult process for everyone involved. Be there for your parents and offer your support.
- Be patient. It may take some time for your parents to make decisions. Be patient and understanding.
In addition to the above, there are some other things that adult children can do to help their parents pre-plan their funeral, such as helping them to create a funeral plan. This could include writing down their wishes for the funeral, such as the type of service, the location, and the preferred music. You can also help them to choose a cemetery and burial plot, as well as a funeral home. This could involve visiting different locations and comparing their services and prices. If cost is an issue, pre-planning in this way can also help control expenses, as you can help them enter a pre-need contract with the funeral home, and pay in today's dollars instead of years or even decades of inflation.
Pre-Planning End-of-Life Plans for Aging Parents
Pre-planning a funeral can be a daunting task. It can be even more challenging and difficult when it involves doing so for your own parents, or even just helping them to do so themselves. However, it's one task that is too important to ignore. It's crucial to help ensure that your parents' wishes are respected and that their affairs are handled smoothly after they pass. By following the guidance above, you can help your parents make the best possible decisions for their future, and help write how their life story is told.
In the process, adult children can provide peace of mind for their loved ones. Aging parents with end-of-life plans can rest assured that their wishes will be respected and that their younger generations will be taken care of after they have passed. By taking the time to help your parents pre-plan their funeral, you have the assurance that no matter what the future may bring for your family, there are things set in place. If you have more questions about end-of-life planning for parents, utilize the many resources available at MemorialPlanning.com, including contacting experts at a large network of cemeteries and funeral homes around the country.