Lifestyle & Retirement / Senior Living

2 Critical Questions to Ask Senior Parents

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You may think that sticky conversations and awkward questions between you and your parents are a thing of the past.

Get ready for a little role reversal.

As your parents age, you’re more likely to be the one asking uncomfortable questions.

Although some parents are transparent with their adult children and provide them with a complete plan for their senior years, others are less willing to face the reality of preparing for advanced age.

If your parents haven’t shared a plan with you, it’s time to start asking questions.

2 topics to get things rolling

A good place to start is with a heartfelt conversation about their plans for housing after retirement and for potential health care issues, says Chris Alberta, CEO of Senior Benefits Group Retirement Advisors and president of Alberta Enterprises Inc. in Brighton, Michigan.

Ask your parents these 2 questions:

  1. Are you planning to age in place or live in senior housing?

Plans may change as their needs change, but ask your parents whether they hope to stay put in the family home or expect to move.

“What it really boils down to is this: Where are your parents most comfortable?” Alberta says. “Sometimes, the emotional cost of trying to maintain a residence during health issues can be far greater than the financial cost.”

However, sometimes it makes more financial sense for you to pay to maintain your parents’ home for them in retirement, especially if your parents own the home without a mortgage and want to pass it on to you, Alberta says.

  1. Have you considered long-term or in-home care insurance?

“A great many parents know that their children love them enough to participate in or facilitate long-term care for them if the need arose, but many parents would never want to ask them to do so,” Alberta says.

Some people opt for an “in-home care” insurance policy rather than a full long-term care insurance policy.

“What it really boils down to is this: Where are your parents most comfortable?”

“Not only is the premium much more digestible, but it offers them the ability to stay full time with their spouse in the home that they love,” Alberta says. “Some parents may have some provisions for long-term care and not even realize it. For example, many annuities offer enhanced income benefits for those who need care.

Moreover, clients without substantial assets may consider working with an elder-law attorney to devise an action plan, if the need for care arose.

Far too many families spend most of their nest egg before realizing that a large portion could have been legally protected for the healthy spouse, Alberta says.

These retirement issues aren’t particularly cheerful, but they are a necessary part of planning for your parents’ future, even if they are in denial about growing older.
Editor’s Notes:  After Fifty Living thanks Michele Lerner and for this informative article.

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