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As if talking to your parents about whether it’s time to move to senior living wasn’t difficult enough, learning whether or not they are financially prepared for it can be even more complicated. Money tends to be a delicate topic of discussion for most families and any conversation around senior living is likely to be emotional, whether your parents are agreeable to the idea or not. That makes it even more important to take the right approach in order to have positive, productive discussions. These tips can help you talk to your parents about paying for senior living.

What You Need to Know

First, let’s consider what you need to know about your parents’ financial picture in order to get a better handle on what their budget might be for senior living. The basics include:

  • Market value of their home, what they owe and home insurance policy details.
  • What they owe on their car if they still have one as well as auto insurance details.
  • Their savings and investments.
  • Income such as a retirement account, pension and/or Social Security.
  • Outstanding debts and/or monthly bills.
  • Medical insurance coverage - Medicare, private health insurance and/or a long-term care insurance policy.
  • Life insurance policy details.
  • Estate planning details like their will and power of attorney.

You’ll also need to know where the above information is stored and how you can access it, if needed.

How to Talk to Your Parents about Paying for Senior Living

Now that you know what you need to learn about your parents’ finances, how do you even bring up the conversation? In reality, this isn’t just one conversation; there’s simply too much to cover so instead think of it as creating an open dialogue. Often, it’s best to talk about senior living first and then discuss how your parents will pay for it. Regardless, it can be helpful to put yourself in your parents’ shoes and imagine how you’d want the conversation to go. But in general, your parents will be more receptive if you’re respectful and collaborative instead of taking over the decision-making.

Conversation starters could include:

  • Bringing up a current event such as Medicare enrollment, an IRA distribution, etc. as a segue to talk about their future and/or finances.
  • Recalling a concern they had about daily life at home and what the options might be to improve it.
  • Talking about an experience that happened to a friend or neighbor that got you thinking about senior living.
  • Being honest that you’d like to know more about their needs and wants for the future, their financial picture and their thoughts about senior living.

Why Senior Living is Worth It

Chances are, your parents won’t be jumping at the idea of moving to senior living. So, you’ll have to convince them of the benefits. Luckily there are many, including:

  • Different types of care – independent living, assisted living, memory care – to fit different needs and wants with many communities offering multiple types on the same campus for added peace of mind.
  • An environment that fosters independence with accessible design, expertly-trained staff at hand when needed, and options for accommodations as well as support services.
  • A more convenient and carefree lifestyle that allows freedom from the burdens of home maintenance, cooking and housekeeping.
  • Amenities such as concierge services, restaurant-style dining, a gym, beauty salon and barbershop, library, and scheduled transportation.
  • A full calendar of social, fitness and enrichment opportunities to help residents stay active, engaged and make the most of life.

There are also benefits to planning ahead when it comes to paying for senior living including:

  • Having the time to truly think through their needs, wants and budget to find the best fit.
  • Being able to carefully research your options without pressure so your parents feel more confident in the decision.
  • Being able to take control of their future rather than reacting in a crisis, or leaving it up to someone else.
  • Having more time to save and budget for senior living.
  • Less stress and burden on the family when you know your parent’s wishes and what they can afford instead of guessing in a crisis.

For more information download our Family Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing or contact us today to schedule a tour.

Click here to download our Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing

Written by All American