Today the world looks a little different than before. There’s the pandemic, of course, but there’s also your aging parents. For many adult-aged children, their once capable caregivers start to show small signs of needing more assistance at first. It can start slowly. Maybe your mom has had a few falls or dad needs reminders now to take his medications. It’s certainly jarring to realize the role of caregiver has passed to you. There are a few important steps you can take, though, to help with aging parents.
Start With These Steps to Help with Aging Parents
Talk Through Finances
Talking about money isn’t something that comes naturally for a lot of families, especially when the roles are reversed and adult children have to lead the discussion. Easing your parents into a conversation about their financial standing is key. A few more tips for handling this critical task:
Pick the right time: Big family events or holiday gatherings should be avoided.
Talk big picture first: If money is a touchy subject, it can help to talk about what your parents want to do in retirement rather than how much they have stored up right off the bat.
Then get specific: You will at some point want to get to the hard numbers, so you know what their long term care and comfort will look like. A great way to begin getting to specifics is to show them online calculators for Social Security benefits and retirement funds to see exact dollar amounts.
Remember, it’s what you say, when you say it, and how you say it that will make or break these conversations.
Make Sure They Have The Right Auto Insurance Coverage
If your parents aren’t ready to hang up their car keys just yet, you can still aim to keep them as protected as possible while they’re on the road. If your parent is a retired service member or married to one, check into USAA auto insurance coverage, as the company consistently scores the highest in customer service satisfaction across the country. USAA is also a great option because it offers savings and discounts for seniors who bundle coverage. The company provides a top-rated claim center that can help your parents with roadside assistance should they become stranded.
Ask About Essential Legal Paperwork
Making sure all of your parents’ affairs are in order is another important step in helping you and your aging folks avoid undue hardship and stress. The idea with this step is to cover both estate and advance care planning. Asking questions relating to wills, trusts and any accounts with rights of survivorship as well as confirming who the executor of their estate will be is necessary. As for long term care, discussing what their wishes are if they do need more assistance in later years is a reasonable place to start. Other areas to cover include advanced medical directives, the need for long term care insurance, and assigning a power of attorney.
Take Time Now to Prepare
Avoid feeling overwhelmed as you take on the role of caregiver for your aging parents by taking the time to have these crucial conversations now. A bit of research and some implementation can prepare you and your parents for a smooth transition into this new care-giving dynamic.