Discussing financial and life planning with older parents

Kevin Magna

August 11, 2010

Judith Johnson, a life coach, recently wrote in the Huffington Post that having a discussion about the future of an older parent’s money and health can be one of the hardest conversations that an adult child will face.

With more baby boomers thinking about this issue every day, Johnson has written some steps for preparing for this important talk. Before engaging the discussion, she recommends being honest about your own intentions – are you pressing parents about these matters because of fears about inheritance or are you concerned about their well-being?

To begin the conversation, children should honestly tell their parents their concerns about a parent’s future living circumstances and offer assistance. A relaxing activity can be a good way to add a calm atmosphere to the conversation.

Johnson warns against coordinating a group effort between brothers and sisters, because this can be uncomfortable for everyone involved.

She also writes that adult children must respect a parent’s independence and autonomy. If you do have concerns about the health or living situation of a loved one, you may want to discuss the possibility of a senior alert system, so you will know that parents are able to contact family members or doctors in the case of an emergency.