As parents, we care for our children until they can fend for themselves. Then one day, the roles are reversed. Our kids become the caretakers.
Long before a health crisis forces the issue, you need to talk with your adult children about your later years. Problem is, many can't bring themselves to have that talk.
Here's some help to get the discussion going. Read The Other Talk: A Guide to Talking With Your Adult Children About the Rest of Your Life, by Tim Prosch.
He equates the long-term care talk with the conversation some parents dread having: the one about where babies come from.
"There is another equally critical time in your kids' lives when you need to sit them down to talk about the facts of life — discomfort notwithstanding," Prosch writes. The same reasons you may have stumbled and fumbled trying to talk about the birds and the bees is why you may have trouble talking about your aging and the limitations you might encounter, he says, adding you need, at a minimum, to discuss:
How will you pay for the help you may need? The median annual cost in 2013 for care in an assisted-living facility was $41,400, and it was $83,950 for a private nursing home room. On average, it will cost you $19 an hour for a licensed home health care aide.
What are your thoughts on where you'll live if you need to move out of your home? It's so important to think about more than yourself if your health declines to the point where you need to move. Prosch says to remain open about all the possible living arrangements. What will be best for both you and your caretaker? Do you really want your son or daughter driving long distances to take care of you or worrying they can't get to you fast enough in an emergency?
Who will you designate to advocate for your medical needs? Involve your children in your medical care before a crisis.
What end-of-life instructions do you want followed if you're faced with a serious accident or illness? This point of the conversation is about preparing and empowering your kids as you approach that final stage.