Life Care Estate Plan Road Map, Bradley L. Greene Attorney
“Love You Mom/Dad!”
This Valentine’s Day, show mom or dad how much you truly love them. Many people attend parenting classes, read and re-read books for guidance on how best to raise their children. Yet when it comes to helping our parents, many of us have no plan and just hope for the best.
Many people put off health care decisions and financial planning because they don’t want to make family members uncomfortable, or they are anxious about discussing money or life and death issues. Worse yet, there are millions of Americans who think they don’t need a Living Will or other advanced directives because they are too young, too healthy, or too poor. Children are often hesitant to bring these issues up with their aging parents – even when they are worried about how to best support them as they age.
If you are a person (or love someone) who falls into one of these categories, it may help to think of these decisions and conversations as another way to take care of the people who are most important to you. It may not be the most common love language, but a safe and secure future is the most priceless gift you can give anyone you care about, including yourself.
Everyone has their own unique ways of showing and receiving love. Think of the ways your loved ones have expressed their feelings for you in the past, and then try to keep this in mind as you connect with them now. If Dad keeps a box of every card you’ve ever written to him, then a caring letter might be a safe way to broach a difficult subject. If Mom won’t let you leave the house without a kiss and a hug, then physical contact is important to her. Sitting close by, or holding her hand might be a way to help her feel more comfortable as you discuss some of these issues.
Here are a few other suggestions for how to talk with your aging parents or other family members about planning for the future:

    • Start small. If you’ve never discussed any of this before, it helps to just bring up the subject in an indirect way. Take an opportunity to discuss extended family, friends or stories in the media to gauge what your loved one’s feelings, fears and opinions are.
    • Start slow. Don’t try to “get it over with” in one discussion. Plan to have an ongoing dialogue.
    • Start now. Broaching the subject when everyone is relatively independent and healthy creates a foundation on which you can build future conversations.
    • Listen. It’s very easy to think we know what is best for those we love, but that’s also the fastest way to end a conversation. Make an effort to be a support person and advocate – not an expert.
    • Be empathic. How would you feel if you were slowly or rapidly losing your independence? What if someone wanted to take away your car keys or thought you should downsize/move?
    • Take notes. Keep a list of each person’s questions, wishes, and concerns for the future. Even if you never complete the final step of creating legal documents, this can still be helpful in an emergency or other emotionally stressful times.
    • Get help. Sometimes an outside person can serve as a moderator or trusted resource for the discussion. A skilled professional, like our Care Coordinators, often help clients and family members work through challenges and find the answers within themselves.

The Life Care Planning Law Firm of Bradley L. Greene.  Let Our Family Help Your Family!