How to Have the Talk

If you’re at that age where your parents are starting to need additional help and you're not sure what that’s going to entail, this is a good time to have a talk with your spouse.

Talk about what you would do in the event that one of your parents needed to come live with you, or need some help, or go to a facility, whether an independent or assisted facility. Maybe if one of your parents needs some care, one of you would really like to take care of them for awhile yourselves, before considering a facility.

It’s important to have that conversation with your spouse beforehand. Taking care of older parents and making these decisions is hard, and you need to know that your spouse is behind you. You need each other’s support. You’re always going to have tough situations, but if you’re together on making the decisions it’s going to make everything so much easier.

If possible involve your parent in these decisions. They’ll do so much better if they’ve been included in the decision-making process.

It’s also important to think about having this conversation with each other. You and your spouse need to know what each other’s wishes are: Do you want a Do Not Resuscitate order? Do you have a living will? Powers of attorney? Often spouses prepare for each others’ death, but you need to take into account what happens if one of you is disabled, either through illness or accident. In that case you need to have someone in charge and know who that is, what you can do and who can make decisions with the doctors, and who has the financial power of attorney.

This is so important to think about no matter how old you are, whether you’re just newly married or you’ve been married awhile. It’s so important to get things in order and in place before anything happens. It makes everything else so much easier to deal with.

So have these conversations with your spouse and loved ones. You’ll be glad that you did.