Key Questions For Aging Parents

As our parents prepare to enter their golden years, there comes a time when key topics should be discussed. Asking potentially sensitive questions of your parents can seem challenging, but their comfort and safety depend on it. The five main areas to address with senior loved ones include: health, activities/mobility, living situation, finances, and end of life choices. Here are some questions and ideas to consider for each of these categories when talking with your senior parents:

1. Overall health. Have a frank discussion about their current health issues; are all symptoms and conditions well-managed? Are they consistently remembering to take all of their pills and medicines at the correct times? Bring up their health in the course of everyday conversation and get the full story; do they have appropriate health insurance coverage? Are all prescriptions and treatments current and paid for?

2. Mobility/daily activities. Get a sense of a typical day at home; are they managing all daily chores well on their own, or do issues with hearing or eyesight interfere? Is it safe and practical for them to continue driving a car, or is there other safe and viable transportation available in their area?

3. Living scenario. In light of their current health or mobility issues, is it safe for your parents to continue living in their current home, or would assisted living or a retirement community, such as Pine Rock Manor, make more sense?

4. Financial considerations. Find out your parents' current financial picture, including income totals from social security, retirement plans, pensions, etc., as well as their current monthly bills. Do they need help with financial planning? Where do they store their financial paperwork and tax records? If their savings is running out, find out if there other government benefits available to them, or if they might be eligible for a reverse mortgage on the equity in their home.

5. End of life directives. While this is perhaps the most sensitive area to bring up, most parents will understand your concern; many will even bring it up themselves. Find out if your parents have created a living will and what their preferred health care directives should be. See to it that they've created an estate plan and put in writing what their final wishes should be.

Of course, there's no need to address all of these areas at the same time; use your intuition, and you'll know how and when to start each conversation. Come from a place of love, and your parents will understand that your goal is to make their golden years the best they can be.