When family members and friends are in good health, living independently and coping well, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that it is way too soon to discuss future plans. Some people may be reluctant or embarrassed to discuss personal matters and hypothetical changes, while others might feel that money and health issues are private. Unfortunately, research shows that most family caregivers find themselves trying to make difficult decisions without a plan after a loved one suffers a hip-breaking fall, is diagnosed with a chronic condition or has a sudden life-changing incident that compromises their well-being.
Talk early, talk often.
Remember that the consequences of not speaking up are usually worse than the talk itself. For example, your parent with the erratic driving could hurt someone; or your grandparent who forgets to turn off the stove could be injured in a fire.
As loved ones get older, it is important to honor their wishes, their right to make decisions and their need for independence, while at the same time watching for changing needs. Even if your seniors have a “we can cope on our own” attitude, they are going to need help sooner or later.
Plan ahead, not on the fly