During the holiday season many families make time to get together. Whether it is traveling to relatives who live out of town, gathering together around the fireplace, or simply driving to a local family member’s house to share a meal, the holidays are often the only time throughout the year when we can slow down and simply be with each other.

Whether your adult children live in town or far away, both of you may be able to make time to talk during the holiday season about important topics. While there is never a right or wrong time to have important conversations, such as planning for long-term care, it is best to have these talks  when there is more time and you can focus. As soon as possible, you want to discuss your future plans with your children. This pre-planning can help them be prepared for what the future may hold and, even better, understand your wishes for your future.

We know you may need a bit of help getting started. Let us share the insight we share with our family, friends, clients, and professionals we work with when it comes to talking to your adult children about this important topic.

Who have you chosen as your decision makers?

You can help avoid stress and potential heartbreak for your adult children by talking to them about who your decision makers are now. In a long-term care crisis, you will need your completed estate planning documents, such as your durable power of attorney for healthcare documents, to give legal authority to your child or children. Through these planning tools you will have named an agent, and potentially backup agents, to act for you in a time when you are incapacitated. Discuss with your children, now, who you have named to act as your agent. Help them to understand your choices so they can best support you moving forward.

The long-term plan you are creating.  

Tell your children that you have started to work on a strategy to help you pay for the cost of long-term care. Your children may not realize how expensive long-term care is. You may share with them resources such as the Genworth Long-Term Care Cost of Care Study that can show them just how much it could cost for care at home, in an assisted living facility, or a skilled nursing facility. Talk to them about your choices to determine how you will fund your long term care, the strategies for attaining your care goals, and with your children meet with your elder care attorney. Also, discuss the reality of you possibly living with them. Many times adult children want their parents to live with in their home as they age, but this is not always a reality you want or can be realistically fulfilled.

Make time to answer questions.

You want to be able to answer the questions that your children have now and in the future. No one wants to think about a time when they may be incapacitated or unable to physically care for their activities of daily living. The earlier we have this conversation, however, the better. Your children may be surprised that you are preparing for your future. Let them ask questions to better understand your goals and what you were trying to achieve. Bear in mind, you may need to spend more time than just the holidays answering these questions. Remember to be patient and help them to understand what you are trying to accomplish.

These are just a few of the ideas you can use when talking to your children about long-term care planning during the holidays. Remember, there is never a wrong time to have this conversation. The more information you can provide, the better. Do not wait to contact our law firm with your long-term care questions and let us work with you to get all the planning you need now and in the future.