The Important Long-Term Care Conversations to Have with Your Family

November signifies that the holiday season is here. The weather gets a little cooler in Florida and we start to see decorations of all kinds. While Thanksgiving is on the minds of most Americans in November, during this month we also focus on the importance of caring for our aging family members during National Long-Term Care Awareness Month.

This time of year, for many families, provides loved ones living across the country a purpose to visit. During this annual time of togetherness, it may also provide adult children an opportunity to have important conversations surrounding health and finances in person rather than over the phone with aging parents or grandparents. It also allows them a chance to observe the loved one in person and make decisions for themselves on how that person is doing.

One of these conversations needs to be an open discussion on the older loved one’s long-term care needs. This is not an easy conversation to begin and, if you are not sure where to begin, consider the key questions and discussion points we have included here in our blog.

1. Have they planned for the future when they may no longer be able to live at home? As the adult child, have your parents let you know the answers to questions such as:

• Do they intend to retire soon?
• What do they plan to do in retirement?
• Can they live within their means?
• Do they have any new serious health conditions?
• Have they purchased long-term care insurance?

Whatever their plans, discussing the future is an important conversation for adult children to have with their parents.

2. When was the last time they updated their estate plan? As you discuss their plans for the future, they may need to update their current estate plan to reflect those plans. If they have completed any estate planning, this should be a high priority item on the discussion checklist. This can help all involved family members know now what is going to happen, so there is no confusion when the time comes to implement what is in the estate plan.

3. Have they created a long-term care plan? As we age there can be declines in health that make it impossible to live safely at home. This can result in the need for skilled nursing home care that the majority of seniors do not have the financial resources to pay for. This is where an elder law attorney can help, as Medicaid planning in particular can help to cover the cost of a nursing home. During this time together determine if there is a plan and, if there is not, find a time to create one with an elder law attorney.

Let us also not forget that this is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. The sooner we may address any planning issues, the sooner we can make plans that will not be impacted by incapacity. We know how difficult this conversation can be and want to help. Do not wait to contact us to schedule a meeting with our firm to help your family plan for the future.