As humans, it’s natural to want to plan for the future as much as possible. However, as your loved ones age, discussing the future can become a sensitive and sometimes difficult conversation to navigate. Your senior likely knows there’s less time left for them, with much less control over what happens. Because of this, it’s important to designate some time for a conversation about their wishes for their future care, health choices, financial decisions, and more.
Here are some tips for talking about the future with your senior so that you can be confident in your conversation and the decisions you make for your loved one after:
- Invite Others. Though it’s important to have this conversation sooner rather than later, you shouldn’t feel like you need to do it alone. Invite any siblings, family members, or close friends of your loved one to have extra support to take some of the pressure off you so you can feel more comfortable. Before speaking with your senior, meet with the others you invite to the conversation to draft a list of points to discuss; this will ensure you talk about everything you need to without skipping over any critical issues.
- Speak with a Doctor. Talking to your senior’s primary care physician is a crucial part of the conversation, especially if your loved one has significant health concerns. A doctor’s recommendations can guide the conversation while helping you understand the most realistic possibilities and options for the future. This will allow you to set reasonable expectations and goals and have a good idea of potential situations that may occur so that you can add more to your plans.
- Get Other Opinions. Outside of their doctor, getting second and third opinions on potential plans you may be making is always good. If you aren’t overlooking the wishes of your loved one, then it never hurts to review your plans. People close to your loved one may be able to give you some valuable insight you may have overlooked, like budgeting, that you should factor into your plans.
- Ask Questions to Include Your Senior. The most important part of the conversation is to get your senior’s thoughts and opinions so that you can make decisions you know they would want. Your senior has the right for their voice to be heard so their life doesn’t feel entirely out of control. For example, do they want to stay in their home or move to a senior living community as they age? These questions can make this transitional time a little bit easier and make them trust that their future is in good hands. You may also want to ask some more personal questions to gain their trust, such as important moments and relationships in their life. Showing a genuine interest in your senior will make them much more comfortable with you making plans for them!
- Discuss Legal Preparations. Once you have started getting an idea of what your senior would like, it’s time to start making legal preparations. These conversations mean nothing if you don’t have the legal authority to make these big decisions for them. If anything happens, you need this power to make the best choices for your loved one. Consult with an elder law attorney so that you can start to formalize documents, including the power of attorney, wills, and trusts.
- Stay Positive. This conversation is inherently sad, and it’s understandable for your senior to be emotional or overwhelmed by it all. To offset this, stay positive as much as possible throughout your discussion. This will make everything more productive and less emotional. Be excited about the new changes and remind your loved one that they are not alone—you’re there for them to lean on as the future goes on!
Addington Place at College Harbor is a vibrant waterfront senior living community in St. Petersburg, Florida. Whether you want to perfect your golf game, take a continuing education class, relax by the sparkling pool on our expansive outdoor patio or stroll through the garden walking paths, our distinctive community offers many social and recreational opportunities. Our friendly staff is ready to assist you 24 hours a day.