Facing up to life’s difficult decisions can make things easier long term

​For many of us the idea of our parents getting older isn’t something we like to think about. But, having those conversations early can give you and them peace of mind and allow you to enjoy your time together.

Far from taking their independence away, covering important topics like care options and power of attorney can empower your parents by letting them know they have made their own decisions regarding their future.

“Have these conversations over a cup of tea when it is not going to be during a crisis situation where decisions might be rushed or not thought about properly,” says Careium’s Marketing Manager Charlene Saunders.

So what are the things you need to know and discuss with your parents?

  • Power of attorney – No one likes to think about the day their mum or dad might not be capable of making their own choices. But putting power of attorney in place early will give your parents peace of mind that if the time comes someone with their best interests at heart will be in charge of their affairs. There are two types of lasting power of attorney – for financial decisions and for health and care decisions.
  • Support at home – If given the option, the majority of older people would prefer to stay at home than go into care, so talk to them about the services that will help them do that. It could vary from Meals on Wheels to facilities like Lifeline which allows users to press a button on a pendant or bracelet in an emergency and connect to trained staff who will speak to them and, if necessary, call for the appropriate help. Your local council’s Adult Social Services team is a good first point of contact.
  • Care homes – There may come a time when your parents have to leave their home but it doesn’t have to be a negative experience. Speaking to them early on about what they would want in a care home, for example somewhere with a garden or close to their social club, can help make the transition easier if and when the time comes. The NHS has a guide to care and support
  • Making a will – the best way to ensure your parents’ wishes are met is for them to make a will. It also gives them reassurance that their savings and possessions will go to the people and causes they care most about. Citizens Advice has advice on making a will.

“Many of these tips act the same was as an insurance policy for your home or holiday. You might never claim on it and it is only if something happens that you use it,” added Charlene. “But you wouldn’t drive your car around without insurance and it goes without saying our family is more important than a car.”

For more information call 0300 333 6511.