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‘Tis the season for a discussion about long-term care?

'Tis the season for a discussion about long-term care_ (1)

At this moment, people across the nation are busy finalizing holiday plans that will enable them to be surrounded by family. While this time can be used to catch up, relax and simply bask in the comfort that comes from spending time in a familiar environment, some experts are actually suggesting that it might be a good time to have a conversation about a decidedly non-holiday topic: long-term care.

If the idea of discussing such weighty issues as where an older parent will reside in the event they can no longer take care of themselves and how they will subsidize the cost of care seems more naughty than nice, experts counter that the laid back atmosphere of the holidays coupled with having more family members around can actually serve to facilitate meaningful conversations.

Indeed, experts further indicate that those sons and daughters who are ready to take the plunge and have a yuletide talk with older parents about nursing homes, assisted living and, of course, the parameters of any long-term care policies, will want to keep the following points in mind:

  • If you are finding it difficult to initiate the conversation, consider how much more difficult it would be if the unexpected occurs and the family hasn’t broached the subject.
  • Do as much as you can to educate yourself on long-term care beforehand, as the ability to provide informative answers will make you feel more confident, and lessen any fear or hesitation on the part of a loved one.
  • Make sure that the loved one is ready, willing and able to have the discussion.
  • Maintain positivity throughout the discussion, and be prepared for resistance and the possibility of having to revisit the issue.
  • Be a good listener, and show that you respect the loved one’s views or ideas.
  • Whenever possible, include other family members in the discussion, but ensure the floor belongs to the loved one.

Furthermore, it’s worth noting those looking for a good starting off point for the discussion could always bring up the recent collapse of two units of long-term care insurer Penn Treaty American Corp. over a glass of eggnog, perhaps using it as a segue to a larger conversation about long-term care policies and the need to plan accordingly.

What are your thoughts?

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