Three Honest Conversations You Need To Have With Your Aging Parents (Because We’re All Adults Now)

When I was growing up I had a lot of conversations with my parents that I’d like to forget. Now that we are all older, I’ve realized that they had my best interests at heart. I’m also realizing that there are some talks that we need to have now…and that I need to be the one to initiate them. 

I know these discussions will be difficult for both me and my parents, but I want to channel the same energy they used when talking to teenage me and make it clear to them that I have their best interests at heart.

Finances

It’s unfortunate, but our ability to do most of the things we want to do in life is determined by our ability to pay for them. What do your parents want to do in the next ten or twenty years? If they aren’t already retired, when do they plan to do so? It may be helpful for them to talk to an accountant, and while we’re on the subject, you may want to chat with one as well, because if your parents needed your help financially, would you be able to help? 

Living Arrangements

There are so many other options out there when it comes to living arrangements for our parents, like retirement communities, home healthcare, or in-law suites. I sometimes imagine my mother and I being like Sophia and Dorothy from The Golden Girls when we get older; we’ll spend our days eating cheesecake and talking about boys. Future circumstances may limit your options, but it’s good to discuss their ideal living situation now, regardless.  

Final Wishes

Even that term makes my skin crawl. It is by far the most difficult conversation to have, but it’s important. A crucial thing to know is, do your parents have a will? If they don’t, encourage them to talk to a lawyer. I know that when either of my parents die, I will be a mess, and the last thing I’ll want to worry about is minutia of funeral planning.