This is one conversation that calls for tact and sensitivity. When you notice that your parents are slowing down because of age or illness, it’s time to reach out to them and offer support.
You can initiate the conversation even if they seem fit and independent. The important thing is to discuss their finances, and caregiving preferences, as a family.
When to reach out. If you live far away from your parents, try having the talk during your next trip home. Consider a nonthreatening approach such as mentioning that you have been thinking about your future financial plans and want to go over some matters that involve them.
Set the tone. Be respectful and nonjudgmental. And remain so, even if your parents seem hesitant to talk. Stay positive. Present the discussion as a way of exploring together how to make their lives more manageable. Let them know you are available to help them when they need it.
One thing at a time. If they continue to be reluctant, you might want to try talking about one thing at a time, for example, knowing where to locate contact information and documents.
Get organized. It’s a good idea to make a list of the financial information you’ll need to gather in order to assist your parents. Then, when they’re ready to talk, you’ll know where to start.