This post is part of a series brought to you by Genworth Financial. What time is the right time to talk about long term care? The answer, my friends, is really, right now. There’s not a set time frame, but I can tell you from my own life experience and that of my friends, that the more you are open and talk with your loved ones about the future, and your wishes, their wishes, etc., the easier things are down the road when that “future” becomes the immediate reality for you. It’s not always fun, nor comfortable, but it’s important. It matters. And it will save you time, confusion and heartache down the road.
Long Term Care is not something that “others” may need in their lifetime. There’s not a way to know if you will or won’t need it in most cases, so talking about it before you need it is kind of a must. Be honest, be open. But talk. Kids, you need to team up and all be on board with your parents’ wishes. Parents, you need to try to talk to all of your children so that the burden hopefully doesn’t fall on just one person’s shoulders. Husbands, wives, tell your significant other. No one can abide by your wishes if you don’t tell anyone what they are.
I remember when my parents started including me in the “adult child” conversations about the future. I was kind of like “uh…right. Ok, but you’re not even retired and why exactly does this matter or apply here?” But in the blink of an eye, mom was sick, declining steadily and all of the long term care decisions were in place and dad knew what mom wanted- and thankfully, we kids all knew too. Mom wanted to be home, medication used only to keep her comfortable. For dad, we’re still navigating the long term care “thing” because with Alzheimer’s, things change almost steadily at times. We know the “basics” of his long term care wishes, and we trust what we knew of dad and what we have in writing for him to follow his wishes for his care.
So where do you start? What do you say? Check out articles like this one that address long term care, particularly for women (which is obviously relevant to me) for some tips and suggestions. And remember- you don’t have to have the whole conversation at once. But start the discussions about the future sooner than later- you just never know. Be honest and be open.
This post was inspired by Genworth Financial. Opinions are my own.