Today, our parents and elders are learning to embrace their life plans with dignity and independence as they strive to stay active and involved as they age. Parents at this life stage create opportunities for conversation about what they want their future to look like. Asking your parents about their life plans can help lead to further conversation about how they want to age and your role in their future.
While parents can be reluctant to share their information or open up about their plans, there are a few things you can try to spark the conversation.
Talk about your own experience.
It may help to share your own personal experience about how you’ve prepared for your future. Provide examples of how you’ve readied your financial affairs, drafted a will, or documented your information should your loved ones ever need it. You can then ask your parents how they’ve prepared for their future.
Share a friend or colleague’s experience.
Similarly, you can share a friend or colleague’s experience who either did or didn’t have access to their parents’ information when they needed it most. This could range from the importance of having a will to having specific healthcare plans in place. Show your parents how significant it can be for you to have their information on-hand. This will also invite conversation about what your parents may or may not have in place.
If your parents are reluctant to loop you in on their plans and information, suggest they write it out and share where they’ve secured the document in their home. You could also suggest they use an online, encrypted database like Helen’s Plan or that they meet with a lawyer or attorney. These ideas may help create the distance your parents are wanting to comfortably document their life plans and information.
Gather as many details as you can.
If your parents are open to sharing, work to gather as many details as you can. Secure things like bank accounts, insurance, healthcare plans, real estate, legal documents, and logins. Include any information you or their lawyer, attorney, or estate planner may need.
In a society that once viewed retirement as leaving the workforce to rock on a porch swing, our parents and elders are doing anything but. Working to openly discuss and collect details of your parents’ life plans will allow you both to celebrate and find comfort as they age.