The Yakel household is very quiet this week, as I’ve just returned from visiting my parents in Williamsburg, and leaving my kids down there with my parents. That was on purpose and prearranged…God bless my folks…they are in for a busy week…
It was good to visit my parents and to see they are doing well. So, thankfully, this trip, we didn’t have to have any hard conversations about health care or housing plans…that conversation is so difficult that a recent study by Care.com reported that 54% of adults would rather have “the talk” than discussing care arrangements with their parents!
Despite how uncomfortable elder care conversations can be, they are hugely important as most of us dramatically underestimate the cost of care—from a Hartford Funds white paper:
A 2017 Genworth study shows costs of senior housing range widely, making planning for funding long term care hard to estimate:
So, while having a conversation about aging can feel awkward and uncomfortable, the same Care.com study found that over two thirds of parents that were approached by their children to discuss their elder care plans didn’t react defensively and actually welcomed the conversation.
And while the topic of elder care sounds so sterile and scary, the MIT Age Lab found that the conversation about aging can really be kick started with three simple questions:
The conversation about light bulbs is about aging in place—what is the plan when routine household maintenance become challenging? The conversation about getting ice cream is about transportation—what is the plan if driving becomes an issue? And the questions about lunch is about the social network—who is nearby to help if needed?
These are much easier questions to think over and discuss—for folks of all ages! So, next family BBQ, try them out as conversation starters…you may end up having the dreaded elder care ‘talk’ accidentally!