3 tough topics to discuss with your aging parents

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Communication is key for any relationship. But with aging parents, there may be a few different conversations you should consider.

Start these conversations early and don’t wait for a crisis to have them — you may have fewer options and may need to make quick decisions.

Driving safety

Aging impacts vision, hearing and reflexes, all of which are very important for driving. Adults over 70 are more likely to have driving accidents than any other age group besides those who are under 25, according to Kaiser Permanente. If you notice worsened driving in your parents, it may be the time to talk about other transport options instead of the car.

For food and groceries, services like Instacart and DoorDash are great alternatives that deliver food to your doorstep, so you don’t have to drive to the store. Additionally, look into providing Ubers, Lyfts or taxis for your parents when they do need to step outside the house. If you live close to your parents, consider carpooling with them when they need a ride.

Financial management

As your parents get older, talk to them about including their care in your financial plan. What are your parents’ goals for retirement? What care do they need? How should their needs be met? Look at their post-retirement streams of income and consider that when putting together a financial plan. U.S. News and World Report recommends talking with your parents about setting up online banking to assist with their finances from afar.

To protect your parents from financial mismanagement, discuss the possibility of setting up a living trust. In the event that your parents may be unable to make sound financial decisions for themselves, a living trust can give you control of their assets.

“To be effective with this strategy, the trust document should include a provision that establishes a process for determining the trust maker’s abilities to make those decisions,” Zach Morris, managing partner and co-founder of Atlanta-based Paces Ferry Wealth Advisers, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“So, this could be a medical professional, maybe, that determines the elder parent is no longer able to make those decisions for themselves. And then the adult child would then take control of those assets.”

Aging in place or a nursing home

Ask your parents where they prefer to stay and what would best suit their health. Consider helping your parents make aging-friendly renovations or discuss selling their current house to move into a residential care facility. There are many assisted living options in Atlanta that can meet the different needs of your parents. Consider touring a few places with your parents and reading other testimonials to find the right place.

“Speaking to a loved one about their need for an assisted living doesn’t have to be a difficult conversation,” Mark Friedman, owner of Senior Helpers Boston & South Shore, a senior home care agency in the Boston area, told U.S. News and World Report.

“Especially if you’re sparking the conversation after a minor event like a non-major fall or time when you were unable to provide the immediate support your loved one needed. Your parent’s needs have to be reliably met. If you live far away or work full time, explain why a change like an assisted living community should at least be considered and looked at together.”

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