It’s easy to put off uncomfortable conversations about issues such as end of life, living choices and finances. However, that procrastination could have unfortunate consequences. By the time you’re 40 or your parents are 70, experts agree that these conversations need to happen.
Back in 2008, Home Instead Senior Care created the 40-70 Rule® to help families do just that. Recently we recognized that families needed more help with these conversations. It wasn’t enough to just talk about it, they needed to take action.
The importance of having a loved one’s wishes documented became clear as we surveyed seniors, adult children, senior care and legal professionals.
• Senior care professionals surveyed report that 70% of family conversations about aging are prompted by an event such as a health crisis or other emergency.
• Two-thirds of family disputes (66%) over aging or end-of-life issues that end up in court could have been avoided if the family had clearly discussed and documented wishes in advance, according to estate planning attorneys surveyed.
• Approximately three in five families (58%) who are managing the care of an aging parent experience problems such as fights or hurt feelings due to lack of communication about financial issues, health crises and end-of-life decisions, according to senior care professionals surveyed.
So what can you do to help your family from being unprepared?
• All estate planning attorneys surveyed (100%) agree that it is important to document wishes in writing; they say conversations are the first step, but don’t rely on anyone’s memory.
• A vast majority of senior care professionals (84%) surveyed say the most important step families can take to avoid disputes around aging or end-of-life issues is to establish medical powers of attorney, advance directives and financial powers of attorney
• Get the Action Plan for Successful Aging to help you have the conversations and document the wishes of your loved ones.