For an aging parent, the change from being independent and caring for others, to becoming someone who relies on others on a daily basis, is often fraught with highly charged emotions and difficult transitions. When you add the difficult topic of money to the mix, bringing up financial discussions with your aging parent can sometimes feel almost impossible. Let’s look at several tips you can use in order to have a positive discussion about the topic.
Tip 1: Set out your desires. When you confront an aging parent about money, parents can often feel cornered or accused, causing them to shut down or be defensive. Take some time to sit down and reflect on why you want to talk about finances and what your concerns are about your parents. Write these down so you can later bring them up and couch the discussion in terms of your concern.
Tip 2: Ask, don’t order. The loss of independence that elderly people face is often more daunting than any medical condition or other change in lifestyle. When you bring up financial concerns, it’s important to raise them as questions and not appear as if you are giving parents an order or making demands.
Tip 3: Recognize the parent’s feelings. Often, a simple phrase such as “it must be difficult to think that you have to rely on your children after so many years of looking after us” can establish empathy and sympathy with your parent. As long as your parents understand that you are considering his or her feelings, this can go a long way to making the discussions easier.