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Talking about Future Finances Can Help Your Parents Age in Place Safely

June is Seniors’ Month in Ontario and this year’s theme is stay safe, stay in touch.

In keeping with this theme, we wanted to address a difficult, but important topic: Talking to your aging parents about their future finances because the decisions you help them make today will help ensure they can remain safer at home.

Money makes people funny, they say, and talking about money is right up there with talking about death when it comes to difficult conversations. As hard as the conversation can be, however, having it is crucial.

When’s the best time to have “the talk” with your parent?

If you’ve found your way here, then now is likely the right time as most people find our services when elderly care is already on their radar.

Most experts agree that it’s never too soon to have important talks about the future. Ideally, conversations around your parents’ future should happen while they’re still healthy and relatively young. And if possible, do it before retirement they can plan their retirement savings accordingly.

Have they chosen their Power of Attorney?

Asking your parents if they have decided on a Power of Attorney is a great way to start the conversation.

A Power of Attorney – POA for short – is a legal document that assigns a person of your choosing the right to make decisions on your behalf. There are different kinds of POAs and when talking to your aging parents, the two types that you’ll want to discuss are:

  • A Continuing Power of Attorney for Property (CPOA)covers your parents’ financial affairs. The person they assign – whether you, a sibling, or other family member – is able to make decisions on their behalf. This includes the decision to hire and pay for a home care agency to help them at home.
  • A Power of Attorney for Personal Care (POAPC) covers your parents’ personal decisions, such as housing, and health care, including in-home health care services.

What types of home care services do they want/need?

The types of home care assistance your parent(s) want and need should also be discussed when talking about their future finances.

With the state of long-term care facilities in Canada at the moment, more families are looking to in-home care as a safer alternative. Research shows that aging in place is also what most Canadian seniors prefer.

To help with planning and ensure that your parents’ are financially able to get the help they need when the time comes, knowing what types of services are available is important. This is also important if you and/or your siblings will be pitching in to help with the costs of in-home care.

Something else to keep in mind when it comes to in-home care services is that prices and services vary between agencies. At Living Assistance Services, for instance, the cost of our services land somewhere in the mid-range compared to other agencies.

Reputation and credentials are also important considerations to keep in mind. Watch out for prices that look too good to be true as they usually are! Choosing an agency with excellent referrals and whose staff are properly trained and insured is a must.

You can find more information on choosing a home care provider such as Living Assistance Services.

What does in-home care typically involve for seniors?

Everyone’s situation is different, which is why there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to caregiving. That said, unless your parent is living with a medical condition that requires extra care, there are some services that they’re more likely to need.

To help you and your parents plan for the future, these are examples of services commonly required by elderly care recipients:

  • Escorting to appointments, grocery shopping, and errands for a minimum 4 hours per day, often twice per week.
  • Light housekeeping, dog walking, laundry, meal preparation, and companionship for 6-8 hours per day, often twice per week.
  • Personal care (bathing, dressing, feeding, and toileting) is required 24/7, 365 days per year for those that need it.

A full list of our home care services can be found at https://www.laservices.ca

Don’t wait till emergency strikes to initiate these conversations. Talking to your parents about their financial future is the best way to help them have the future they want and deserve.

Article sources

  • Powers of Attorney Questions and Answers. Ministry of Attorney General. (2016). https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/family/pgt/livingwillqa.pdf

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