Sitting down with your aging parents to discuss difficult legal topics can be uncomfortable, but it is a vital part of providing effective elderly care. Legal matters are simply a part of aging. Even though you might not want to face them, or discuss them with your aging parents, it is critical that you are upfront and open about the very beginning of your caregiver relationship so that the appropriate arrangements can be put into place.
Being an elderly care provider for an aging loved one is a tremendous responsibility, and being prepared to handle it even during uncomfortable moments will make a major difference not only in how you perceive your caregiver relationship, but also in the ongoing quality of life of your aging loved one.
Even though difficult conversations are an ongoing part of elderly care, this does not mean that they need to be painful or terribly awkward. Even the most difficult of topics can be made easier if you go into the conversation open and prepared.
Here are some tips for discussing legal matters with your aging parents in a way that will get things done without straining your relationship:
- Start your legal discussions early. Don’t wait until your loved ones are suffering from such serious cognitive issues that these legal matters are urgent. Instead, begin discussing legal matters while your parents are still capable of being a part of the conversation and making their wishes known.
- Bring the family together to make the discussion more cooperative. If you have siblings, they should be involved in these discussions as well. Remember that you are not in this elderly care situation alone, and the opinions of other people involved are important. However, if your parents expressed desire for only you to be involved in their legal matters, you must respect and find a way to diplomatically release your siblings from responsibility and involvement in the issues.
- Don’t beat around the bush. Explain the goal of the conversation from the very beginning, and make sure your parents understand the importance and gravity of the topics that you are discussing. Help them to understand that you want their wishes respected, and that you feel it is important that these decisions be made as soon as possible.
- Respect your parents’ freedom, independence and personal thoughts. Know that they still want to be in control of their own lives, and their legal decisions should be theirs to make, not yours of course. If they are incapable of making these decisions completely on their own, you should contribute, but make sure they understand that they are involved.
- Prepare yourself for decisions that you disagree with. Your parents may have completely different views on certain legal matters than you do, and you need to be ready to respect these different views and fulfill them to your parents’ wishes. Matters such as Do Not Resuscitate orders and how their final estate will be divided may bring up conflict, but remember that these are their decisions, and it is your responsibility as their elderly care provider to help them get these wishes put into place, and then to fulfill them later.
If you or an aging loved one needs elderly care services in the Branford CT area, remember there is “No Place Like Home-Care”. Call us at the number at the top of the page or fill out our form for more information.