It can be hard to broach sensitive topics with your aging parents. Many a time, it can be hard just to even think of your parents as getting on in age when you have grown used to depending on them for your entire life. However, you may start to realize that chores are not being done around the house, or that your parents are starting to forget errands or things that you have mentioned previously.
Even if your parents do not require immediate assistance now, concerns about their aging are essential issues that should be discussed with them in advance. Not only will they set the tone for other conversations in the future, but they will also allow the family to better approach any crises that may occur. Read on to find out more about the three essential conversations you should have with your aging parents.
Driving isn’t on the list because you need to take away your parents’ keys the second they turn 65. However, it can be one of the more dangerous activities that they engage in regularly. This can be an incredibly sensitive topic to discuss because driving is not just a means of transport, but it is also a very significant indicator of both a person’s independence and mobility.
Why is this on the list then? The older a person is, the more likely they’ll drive safely. Seniors will usually wear their seatbelts and follow speed limits and traffic rules. However, there are many age-related vulnerabilities that can make driving a cause for concern for them.
For example, medical conditions like diabetes and osteoporosis can make it extremely difficult for your aging parents to recover and rehabilitate fully if they were to sustain any injuries in an accident. Furthermore, many seniors who have these medical conditions are taking medications that can affect their driving performance. The effects of medication may differ from person to person but it is important to acknowledge that medications can affect one’s judgment on the road. If your parents are on any form of medication, try to prompt them into doing a self-assessment of their driving abilities.
Red flags to take note of are whether your parents have physical limitations that can affect their grip on the steering wheel, gear stick, or their ability to fully press on the brake or accelerator. More importantly, if they are starting to experience memory loss, there should be measures put in place to prevent them from getting lost.
Even if they are displaying some of the signs mentioned, it does not mean that your parents should have their license revoked. It can simply mean that it is time to explore compromises like sharing their GPS location, not driving after dark, or avoiding difficult weather and roads where possible.
On average, the retirement age in the United States is around 62. This can mean leaving the workforce entirely or simply switching over to part-time work to enjoy life more. For many people, retirement is not a spur of the moment decision but something that has taken hours of calculation and careful financial planning. Even if you trust in your parents’ financial planning, it is important to sit down to discuss this just so you have a better understanding of their allocation of funds. This is especially so if your parents have long term commitments, medical dependencies, or even insurance policies.
On the other hand, it is not your responsibility to take over their financial plan completely or scrutinize their spending and investments every single month. Having this conversation is important because it’ll allow you to plan your own finances and be prepared for any possible long-term costs of staying in a senior living community or hiring a nurse for home care. Through this conversation, you can also highlight the rising trend of elaborate scams that are targeted at seniors and warn them to be careful.
Asking for Help
The most important conversation that you should have with your aging parents is to ensure that there is always an open channel for communication, and that they have a community of supportive and loving people to help them if they ever need specialized care or support.