When Children Parent their Parents

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Establishing a plan will help everyone feel more at ease about the years ahead. Here are four common concerns you may face with aging parents and tips to manage each conversation.

Plan living arrangements 
Multi-level homes can make everyday living difficult and dangerous for seniors. Convincing parents to move into a more manageable home or assisted living, however, may be tough. Suggest the transition early, while parents are still active to help them ease into the idea. If they insist on staying put, consider homecare and installing assistive equipment, like handrails and ramps (if necessary).

Focus on the road
Driving can be a sensitive topic because for many it’s the key to their independence. Not everyone will be willing to hang up their keys, so approach the topic before noticeable problems surface, such as with vision or dexterity, and agree to certain warning signs that might indicate it’s time to rethink transportation. Then it is time for parents to stop driving, help them map out ways to get to all their activities.

Update important documents
Ensure your parents have a will that’s been updated in the past five years. If not, it should be revised to reflect their current wishes. Establish who will be in charge of executing the details, and determine where documents will be stored. Any updates to wills need to be reflected in life insurance policies, since beneficiaries take precedence over whatever the will specifies. Consider working with a trusted advisor to ensure parents and family members are covered for the future every step of the way.

Gather financials
Finances need to be discussed—from retirement planning, debt consolidation and payment to logistics like where important documents are stored. Help your parents create a list of banks, benefits, pension and other accounts, as well as usernames and passwords. Keep this information in a safe, accessible place.

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