Don't Wait Until It's Too Late to Have the Aging Conversation

Approximately 80 million Americans are currently avoiding the end-of-life discussion with their aging parents. It's a conversation that can save families years of heartache, bickering and even legal issues. Yet, millions are actively avoiding it.

Given the severe consequences of waiting too long to have this critical conversation, if your parents are approaching 70 and you are approaching 40, you should have "the talk" about critical aging issues. It's what's known as the "40-70 Rule."

"Too often, conversations about end-of-life plans are taking place in a hospital, after a health emergency has occurred. We're hoping to change that," says Molly Carpenter, Caregiver Advocate at Home Instead, Inc.

Many senior care experts suggest that families have the conversation around critical end-of-life issues when the parents are near 60 and children are 30. Unfortunately, research indicates that 70 percent of conversations happen too late, being initiated by an event such as a health crisis or other emergency, which can increase the likelihood of family disputes. According to surveyed attorneys, two-thirds of these disputes that end up in court could have been avoided if end-of-life wishes were communicated and documented in advance.

Previous research conducted by Home Instead, Inc. found nearly one-third (31 percent) of Baby Boomers said their biggest communication obstacle with aging parents is the continuation of the parent-child roles that emerged in childhood, making discussion of sensitive issues even more difficult. In fact, finances, living preferences and driving are the three least talked about topics between surveyed adult children and their aging parents.

"Quite often, when it comes to certain topics, there is a noticeable gap between the wishes of the senior parents and their children," says Carpenter. "This is another reason why it's important to establish plans in advance so that a parent's expressed wishes are met."

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SOURCE Home Instead Senior Care