Long term care and nursing home planning may need to be discussed with your aging parents. Are you trying to figure out a way to broach the conversation? You have good intentions and are only bringing up this topic because you love them, but the discussion can be very challenging and emotional.

The following five tips can get you and your family started down the right path for a meaningful discussion about long term care and nursing home planning. Also, having an experienced elder law attorney as part of the process can be helpful. 

  1. Start the discussion early. Bring the topic up in a kind, non-threatening manner at a time when you have time. You may need to plant the seed early. Ask your parents what they want and what they expect. Having this discussion now can help to reduce the inevitable stress and heartache that may arise in a crisis situation. 
  2. Come from a place of understanding – recognize that no one wants to leave home. It can be very difficult for people to transition from a family home – whether it is a single family home, a duplex or an apartment – to a nursing facility. Engage your parents in the process and let them have a say in selecting a facility. 
  3. Call upon your support system. Do you have siblings, adult children or even close family friends who can assist in the process? While you don’t want your parents to feel ambushed by the entire family, making it a group discussion can be helpful. One person might be skilled with finances while another might be a very effective communicator. By assembling a team – each person with different strengths – you can make sure that all bases are covered.
  4. Do your homework. Do you know the different types of long term care facilities? What needs does your parent have? What financial support is available? How do you select a facility?
  5. Involve your parent in the process. When you and your loved one are ready, and if the family member is able, tour different facilities together.

These five tips can be useful for discussing long term care and nursing home planning, along with the services of an elder law attorney, to help your family to be better prepared and to help avoid a crisis.