All families at times have to discuss sensitive topics, and it seems that money is often one of the most difficult. This is especially true as it relates to adult children talking about finances with an aging parent.
As parents get older, families must be prepared to discuss the financial resources that will be needed to provide care for them during their later years. Let’s take a look at some constructive ways that adult children can discuss money with their aging parents.
Helping Elderly Parents with their Finances
PREPARE FOR THE TALK
It’s important to plan ahead when discussing an emotionally charged topic such as money with an older parent. Take the time to understand your own feelings about the situation before you approach them about a talk.
You might be experiencing a wide range of emotions about the issue yourself, such as fear or frustration, so be sure to get settled with your own perspective on the matter before you approach a parent. This allows you to have the conversation from a serene and centered vantage point.
PICK THE RIGHT TIME
A conversation with mom or dad will be more effective if you can create the proper atmosphere. Find the right setting to have this all important talk and the outcome will be much more constructive.
Be sure to avoid busy or distracting environments that won’t allow adequate time for a talk. Pick an occasion that will allow for a meaningful discussion to take place. In addition, approach your wish to talk about money slowly, over the course of several conversations, so mom or dad are not shocked by your bringing up the topic so suddenly.
BE SPECIFIC NOT GENERAL
Everyone appreciates getting right to the point of a tough conversation, especially about money. Instead of vaguely asking your parents about certain financial issues that concern you, address the details of the matter directly, so that the conversation is as productive as possible. Focused discussions regarding money often produce less anxiety than talking about the entirety of a parent’s financial picture.
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LESS IS MORE
When an aging parent has agreed to have a discussion about finances, keep the talk on the briefer side. You might be tempted during such an opportunity to ask many questions, but focusing on the ones that are the most important to you will yield the best results.
Keep in mind that while you might have been thinking about having this kind of talk for a long time, it will be a new experience for your mom or dad. Give them some time to adjust to it. Also, have two or three shorter conversations, rather than a single one that lasts several hours.
LET THEM MAINTAIN CONTROL
One of the toughest parts about aging for people is losing control over the things in life that they had managed so competently for decades. When discussing finances with an older parent, be sure to emphasize that you are simply just trying to be helpful, not take over their life.
Allow a parent to maintain as much control as possible over their finances, so that they have confidence that you are there to support them and not trying to take decision-making out of their hands.
AN ONGOING JOURNEY
As parents age, loved ones face new challenges, such as talking about money. These situations feel far from comfortable at first. Talking about finances with an older parent will require patience and persistence, but when handled properly, it can be a relief to everyone in the family. We all want nothing but the best for our older loved ones as they age and having constructive conversations about money will go a long way in achieving that goal.
If you would like more information about helping an older parent manage their finances and plan for future care needs, the highly experienced experts at Frontier are here to help. Contact us today or visit one of our beautiful properties and speak to our friendly and compassionate staff.