Having 'that' conversation with elderly parents
PREPARING your elderly parent to move into an aged cared venue can be fraught with all sorts of pressures, both emotional and financial.
Consider the advice from financial adviser and accredited aged care specialist Brenda Will, for managing the conversation about transitioning your parent from home to aged care.
"Avoidance is the biggest issue - most families just don't want to talk about it or make a plan for a family member to transition into aged care until they're in a crisis in hospital and need to make a rushed decision about the next step," Ms Will said.
"Not adequately planning or delaying any decisions on aged care until it becomes a real issue can have grave consequences for a loved one.
"Conditions like dementia are also increasingly prevalent, so the adult child is often left trying to manage a parent who is not really that same parent figure anymore."
Issues to consider
- Pick an appropriate time and meet on neutral ground.
Don't start the discussion on Christmas Day when everyone is in the room. Find a time and place that's not attached to anything else.
- Who will have power of attorney?
Make estate planning less about emotion and more about practicalities. Is there a suitable adult child take on this role? Might your nomination lead to fighting among siblings? It's important to nominate a power of attorney and enduring guardian, as in instances of dementia and mental illness, this can't be done if left to the last minute when the parent no longer has legal capacity.
- Home care
This is becoming a more popular option. Consider the cost of bringing carers into the house and setting up the home with ramps, rails and other equipment to make it more 'ageing friendly'.
- Understand the options and costs.
The cost of moving into aged care is the most common issue and involves a lot of fear around having to sell the family home to cover moving into an aged care facility. It's important to have all the right information together in one place as this will make decisions easier. It may help to get a specialist aged care financial planner to walk you and your family through the options, the costs and the impact on your parents.
- Planning for couples and singles.
Have options in place for both parents to move into aged care, or for when one passes away, and another if one moves into aged care and the other stays at home. Navigating aged care can be even more complicated for couples so it's important to consider all possibilities and costs.
Brenda is a Financial Adviser with www.boutiqueadvisers.com.au and has worked in the financial planning industry since 1998. This article contains information that is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs before making any decisions based on this information.