While people may be living longer than in generations past, the end of life will come for everyone. And while it may be difficult to think about, estate planning isn’t about death — it’s about carrying out your wishes after you’ve gone and through your final years. 

As adult children, it can be hard to watch your parents age from their young, vibrant selves you remember as a child. But one of the best things you can do for your parent is to have the conversation of preparing for their end of life care. 

Here are some questions to discuss with your aging parents to ensure their wishes are respected and a plan is in place. 

What are your parents’ wishes for their advance care?

There will likely come a time in your parent’s life when it is no longer safe for them to completely care for themselves. Discuss with them how they’d like to be cared for when this point comes. Are they open to retirement-home or assisted living? Would they like to age at home and should look into in-home care? Or maybe you’ve opted to take on this responsibility and will care for them in your own home. Go over these options, tour facilities, and research costs associated with each. 

Do they have long-term care insurance?

Medicare is available to everyone once they turn 65. However, it doesn’t cover the costs of long-term care such as assisted living and home care. Long-term care insurance is available to cover these costs. However, it can be expensive and not everyone will qualify for it. Medicaid covers retirement-home stays, but any retirement income your parent is receiving will be used first before Medicaid kicks in.

What expenses does their health insurance cover?

Familiarize yourself with your parent’s healthcare coverage, whether that is through Medicare or a former employer plan. This can help you determine what financial assistance they may need for medications or care if you’ve decided to take on that responsibility.

Have they saved enough to cover medical and care expenses in retirement?

You can never start saving for retirement early enough. That investment will be used one way or another. When saving for retirement, it’s important to take into consideration your possible end-of-life care. Depending on how much your parent has saved for retirement, can help you determine which care plan is realistic and give you an idea of what you should be putting toward your own retirement. 

While everyone can agree that having estate planning and other conversations about the wishes someone would like at the end of their life is important, so many find it hard to discuss it. If you find yourself uncomfortable in the conversation or your parent keeps putting it off, it’s normal. But keep nudging for the both of you. In the end, it can save you both from frustration and heartache down the road. If you’d like help ensuring you are saving enough for your own retirement, we’d love to talk with you and build a portfolio to meet your goals.