Having “the Talk” with Your Parents

Senior using Phoenix home careSo you’re beginning to notice some things are not quite right with an elderly parent: increased forgetfulness. Misplaced items. Confusion. Is it time to consider some assistance at home?

At Nightingale Homecare, we believe that earlier is better when it comes to the safety of a senior loved one. Waiting until an emergency or crisis situation arises can put everyone into full panic mode, eliminating the ability to carefully plan and consider what’s best for both the senior and his or her family.

And so begins “the talk.”


As mentioned, our advice is to begin early, and also realize it will likely take more than one discussion. Beginning the conversation when your parents are healthy and active may seem like you are jumping the gun, but it makes the conversation go a lot easier when a crisis does occur. You will also be a lot further ahead in knowing the wants and wishes of your parents, and where the roadblocks may lie.

The worst time to discuss future assistance is following a health emergency. No one is prepared, and the wishes of your parents may be unheard. So don’t wait. Beginning the discussion when your parent’s health is good is the perfect time.


More often than not, there are numerous adult family members that need to be involved in the decision for your parent’s future health care assistance. Be sure to recognize that fact, and involve everyone who needs to participate in the discussion. Unless it’s a crisis, where all the members cannot be involved, excluding members will lead to resentment down the road. Remember, it isn’t uncommon at all for family members to have different opinions and ideas about how to manage the loved one’s care needs, and it is important that all are heard, including the parent needing care.


Once you are all gathered, it is important to have a list of topics for discussion. It’s very likely that you won’t be able to complete the discussion in one setting, so set a plan for future meetings.

This list should give you a good idea on what topics are important to cover.  You can customize this list or make one of your own.

  1. Home Safety. Are your parents safe in their current environment? Do they feelsafe? Could they be safer if home modifications were made?
  2. Living and Care Options. Do your parents want to stay in their current home as long as possible? Or are they considering “downsizing” or moving to a senior living community?
  3. Legal Preparations. Do your parents have an up-to-date will? How can their assets help provide for their own care in case of a decline in health or incapacity?
  4. Medical Care Coverage. Long-term care is not covered by Medicare, and paying for it can quickly deplete financial resources. Investigate whether your parents are good candidates for long-term care insurance, or if they already have a policy in place.
  5. Current Health Needs. Do you know who your parent’s physician(s) are? Would you be able to locate their contact information in an emergency?
  6. Finances. If your parents were to be hospitalized, would you be able to step in and make sure their bills are paid?
  7. End-of-Life Care. Have your parents completed advance directives for healthcare, including a healthcare power of attorney and living will? Have you discussed with them what their wishes are if they were to be incapacitated and unable to make their own healthcare decisions?

When the idea of accepting a little extra help at home becomes a reality for your senior loved one, we welcome you to reach out to Nightingale Homecare for the highest quality Phoenix senior care. Providing Arizona in-home care for more than two decades, we’re a 2015 HomeCare Elite Top Agency – meaning you can trust that the care services we provide are among the best in the country. Call us at 602-504-1555 to learn more about how we can help keep a beloved senior in your life safe, happy, and thriving.