Has the time come for having The Talk with your elderly parents? You know the one we’re talking about – that uncomfortable conversation you’ve been putting off for far too long? Whether it makes you feel nervous or not, discussing important issues regarding your parent’s health and living arrangements should not be avoided. Waiting until a crisis occurs is hardly a smart strategy. On the other hand, wisely planning ahead will save you and your family much stress and anxiety later on. But what subjects should you discuss?

Topics to discuss:

Estate Planning– Have your parents discussed their plans with a financial advisor or lawyer? It’s important to consider how their assets will be divided and distributed.

Long -Term Care Insurance– Even if long-term care may be years away, it’s never too early to start planning for this eventuality. Paying out of pocket can quickly deplete retirement savings, so help your parents determine if they are eligible for long-term care insurance. When looking into care options, remember that nursing home facilities should be a last resort.

Staying Safe– Seniors are often victimized because they live alone and make easy targets. Help your parents keep their homes and valuables safe by reminding them to lock their doors and windows, or encourage them to install a security system.

Avoiding Fraud – The elderly are also vulnerable to scams and fraud. Educate your parents about crooked sales people, email viruses, questionable charities – even unscrupulous TV evangelists.

Living Arrangements – Are your parents planning on staying in their current home or thinking about moving to a smaller place? Do they anticipate moving in with you or one of your siblings? Now is the time to discuss expectations and preferences.

Advanced Healthcare Planning and Living Will– Although no one likes to think about declining health or death, advanced preparation is truly the wisest course. Discussing elder care plans before the need is imminent will give your parents time to adjust, as well as be involved in the planning process. Seniors are much more likely to be receptive to care suggestions when they are physically and mentally healthy.

When the time comes to discuss the future with your aging parents, don’t let your nerves or apprehensions hold you back. Your parents will no doubt thank you for your kind concern and forethought.