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Planning for the long-term care of your parents

No one likes to think about what is going to happen as their parents grow older, but for most people, doing so is a necessary, if unfortunate, reality. In many cases, the easiest time to begin long-term care planning is early on, when your parents are still relatively sharp and able to clearly express their own wishes and desires.

So, what types of matters might you want to address when discussing long-term care plans for your parents?

Where to live once they need assistance

Many older Americans want to live on their own and stay in their homes as long as they possibly can, but for many older people, doing so is only a reasonable possibility for so long. Once a parent starts to become increasingly immobile or forgetful, for example, she or he may present a danger, so you may want to consider a home health aide if your parent is going to remain in his or her residence for the long haul. Conversely, you may want your elder loved one to move in with you or take up residence in an assisted living facility.

Financial considerations

If you decide that the best option for your elder loved one is to receive medical care at home or move into a residential facility, you have to figure out how to finance it. Maybe your parents have enough savings to finance their own care, or perhaps they need to utilize programs such as Medicaid to afford care. Veterans' benefits and private financing options may also help offset the cost of long-term care.

Health care considerations

As your parents grow older, you likely also want to address health care considerations, including advance directives. Essentially, advance directives outline your loved one's wishes with regard to health care in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated and is no longer able to express such wishes his or herself.

While these are some important matters to address with your parents as they age, please note that this is not an exhaustive list of all the areas you may want to cover. 

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