As your parents get older, they may need help managing their finances. This is a sensitive topic that may not be an easy discussion.

Although finances may be an uncomfortable topic, it is important to initiate the conversation about their wishes and what you can do if they start to need more help. When you discuss finances before they begin to need help, you avoid a lastminute scramble in case of an emergency.

The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies asked retirees how frequently they discuss their retirement savings, investments and financial situation with family and close relatives, and 46 percent said they never have these discussions, only 5 percent said frequently, and 49 percent said occasionally.

Start off by understanding where they keep their information about their financial accounts and whether they have legal documents such as power of attorney and health care proxy. This also gives the parent more control over their financial decisions.

Power of attorney is one of the most important estate planning documents because it allows you to appoint someone you know to make financial decisions for you in case you are unable to do so yourself. It gives you authority to deal with your parents’ finances, even if they just need a little extra assistance.

You should also understand their ideal living situation and plans for long-term care. Discuss whether they would like to continue to live in their home or move into a retirement community like Plum Landing in Aurora. Plum Landing offers independent rental apartments for seniors 55 and better. Plum Landing offers restaurant style dining, events, activities, and transportation for personal appointments and shopping trips are all part of the Plum Life experience. Come and experience it for yourself! They also have a balcony or patio for every apartment to enjoy the peaceful outdoors overlooking the Fox River.

According to Don Mangers, Executive Director at Plum Landing, just starting the conversation can be the hardest part. “Ask what your parents might be looking for if or when they decide to leave their house. Would they just want help with meals and cleaning, or might they want to consider more personal services? That’s a good starting point. Then you might suggest visiting a few places so you don’t end up doing it during a crisis. You’re just gathering information for the future and getting ideas of what may be involved financially. And there’s no pressure to make a quick decision.”

Develop a list of contact information including your parents’ doctors, list out important financial and health insurance information and talk over your parents’ expenses in a respectful and nonjudgmental way. Let them know you are
available to help when they need it.