ElderPlanning101.com has many helpful sites to assist you in developing a plan for senior care. To take advantage of a plan, nothing is more important than a family meeting.
AARP has suggested a few discussion points for a family meeting but you may have many others.
"What are everyones concerns about the future? Finances? Health? Family? Giving up the family home? The loss of independence? • In what ways do you feel prepared or unprepared for the future? • What are housing preferences and options? Would those change if one parent is widowed? • Have you made preparations for long term care? How will you fund it? Are you aware of the guidelines or limitations on government programs? • Who would be parents' choice as caregiver? Their spouse? One of their children? A caregiver service? • Do seniors have a current will, power of attorney, and other documents in place? Where are they located? • Is their health history available? Is there a list of all their physicians and medications? Is there a doctor’s form allowing you or a sibling to get medical information as needed? Where are these forms? • What would they absolutely not want as part of their future plans?"
Family meetings can get contentious. Virtually every aspect of a family planning for the elderly yields an opportunity to reopen old family jealousies and wounds. Not all fights are over money (although most are indirectly). Whether to move your parents out of the house or take away their car keys may also produce a heated argument. Arguments between siblings that live nearby their parents and those that do not are common especially when one wants to be compensated for her efforts.
Remember you will always be your parent's children, never think that role will change in their minds. If these issues cause you to start fighting consider mediation.
Todays internet tools make it possible to have a family meeting online. This is particularly helpful if the family is scattered around the country. If you think it would be helpful to have your meeting hosted, contact me for details.
Richard Schwachter, Esq.