For many, parents are the guiding lights of the first portion of our lives. Parents make sure we eat healthily, set us up for doctor appointments, and otherwise work to help us make the best decisions for a fulfilling life. As we age, though, so do they. And with aging comes a turning point — sometimes it’s one major event or diagnosis, and sometimes it’s a gradual shift — when we witness our parents switch from superheroes to humans.
Watching your parents’ health decline or watching them neglect their health in small ways can be both scary and frustrating. This can impact your relationship or add stress and angst to your mood and perspective. Having a candid and vulnerable conversation about their health can illustrate your concerns in a meaningful way. It may even open your parents’ eyes to see why it’s important they stick around for years to come.
If you’re no longer living under the same roof, knowing your mom or dad’s routine is tough. They might swear that they’re paying all of their bills or only giving to their normal charities, and you’re basically resigned to taking their word for it. You must be diligent in observing when you can. If you notice something out of place, this must be directly and openly discussed.
Often, aging requires giving up some autonomy and depending on others. It’s not easy. But it is easier to ask for help when a child comes from a place of love. Present the issue in a non-judgmental, loving way that gently asks for your parents’ input.
If your parents work with a financial advisor, offer to accompany them to a meeting. Money tends to be a sensitive topic that most people avoid discussing. But when it comes to adult children and aging parents, this is a conversation that simply must happen. Failing to talk about legal and financial matters can put you in a very difficult position should you ever need to help them manage their money or take over these decisions entirely.
If money is a difficult topic to bring up, try relating your parents’ issues to what they are seeing in the news. You may find your parents are spending more time tuned into news channels since they’ve slowed down or retired. News stories and ticker updates about the economy, health care, and politics can provide a valuable jumping-off point.
Try striking up a conversation about loosely related current events and finding a way of turning the attention to Mom and Dad’s situation. This can be as simple as asking their opinion on a particular matter or how a certain economic development may or may not affect them financially.
Most parents want to continue living in the way to which they are accustomed for as long as possible and leave a legacy for their children and grandchildren after they pass away.
Let your parents know that you are here to help them accomplish those goals and that it is important to have a trusted fiduciary advisor on hand to get them going in the right direction.