XS
SM
MD
LG
XL

Role Reversal: How to Approach the Long-Term Care Talk

Investools' Ben Watson and MarketWatch's Elizabeth O’Brien offer a few pointers on the importance of having a plan for your family's long-term care needs.

Print
https://tickertapecdn.tdameritrade.com/assets/images/pages/md/
3 min read

Planning for the financial and medical needs of aging parents—and, yikes, sometimes still investing in your college-bound kids while building your own retirement nest—can be challenging, to say the least. Approaching this touchy subject is tough enough. But planning and healthcare experts advise against waiting until there’s a financial or medical emergency to take up the talk with your parents and other aging relatives about long-term care planning. There’s an upside for daring to go there (and including all siblings and grandchildren of appropriate age in those discussions): much of this planning can help set the stage for your own long-term financial needs.

Ben Watson, an instructor and market commentator for TD Ameritrade education affiliate Investools®, interviewed Elizabeth O’Brien, retirement healthcare reporter at MarketWatch.com, for a few pointers on the importance of having a plan.

Here’s a snapshot of the interview.

Ben and Elizabeth agree that the first step is finding a non-stressful time to sit down. Geriatric experts suggest bringing up the topic anecdotally. For instance, if a friend or neighbor is experiencing a long-term care issue, use that example to open the door to discuss your own parents’ wishes.

For starters, it’s important to understand how your parents visualize a retirement that could last 30 years. Where would they like to live? Would they like to age at home? Do they expect to move in with you? Are they comfortable with assisted-living facilities and would, in fact, like to conduct their own research into the benefits and costs of these facilities and pick their own?

Trail Guides

TD Ameritrade knows you may have questions when it comes to preparing for your financial future. That’s why we offer access to guidance, professional money management, and planning tools.

There’s more: Do they have a will? Separate financial power-of-attorney and healthcare power-of-attorney? What resources are available? A retirement plan? Long-term care insurance? (And, Ben notes: these are the relevant questions to ask yourself about your own retirement plan.)

It’s clear that one of the biggest challenges crops up when siblings don’t see eye-to-eye on parental care. Experts advise a division of responsibilities so that no one person shoulders all of the planning and care and no one feels shut out of the decision-making involving their loved one. For instance, care typically lands with the adult child who lives closest to the aging parent. Today, options like online bill pay mean that long-distance relatives can play a role in helping with family finances.

Sometimes it’s hard to recognize when the climate for “the talk” has shifted from casual to a little more urgent. Elizabeth recalls her column that featured the experience of one woman opening her otherwise lucid mother’s front closet to find bags of unopened mail. A transition to taking over some of the financial and care responsibility from your parents might begin with framing the situation as short term. You convey that the aim is to help them “get back on their feet” or “over this hump.”

The key is a gentle approach. Each family is different and you may not get your desired response on the first attempt. Remember, it’s a process. Dementia can take away a parent’s ability to know that there is a problem. Their reluctance to accept help might be more than just stubbornness to defend their independence; they may not realize there’s been a change. But, importantly, they may be sensitive to shifting any burden onto their children. This reinforces the importance of sibling cooperation. Families are complex. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Everyone may not be on the same page regarding mom and dad’s degree of need. Remember, geriatric care managers can mediate, and sometimes a third party can help preserve family relationships.

The information presented is for informational and educational purposes only. Content presented is not an investment recommendation or advice and should not be relied upon in making the decision to buy or sell a security or pursue a particular investment strategy.

Call Us
800-454-9272

TD Ameritrade, Inc., Elizabeth O’Brien, and Marketwatch.com are separate and unaffiliated and are not responsible for each other’s opinions, services or policies.

Investools, Inc. and TD Ameritrade, Inc. are separate but affiliated companies that are not responsible for each other’s services or policies. Investools, Inc. and TD Ameritrade, Inc. are wholly owned subsidiaries of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation. Ben Watson is not a representative of TD Ameritrade, Inc. and his opinions and commentary should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation by TD Ameritrade, Inc.

Investools® does not provide financial advice and is not in the business of transacting trades. Webcasts are provided for general information purposes only and should not be considered an individualized recommendation or advice.

adChoicesAdChoices

Market volatility, volume, and system availability may delay account access and trade executions.

Past performance of a security or strategy does not guarantee future results or success.

Options are not suitable for all investors as the special risks inherent to options trading may expose investors to potentially rapid and substantial losses. Options trading subject to TD Ameritrade review and approval. Please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options before investing in options.

Supporting documentation for any claims, comparisons, statistics, or other technical data will be supplied upon request.

The information is not intended to be investment advice or construed as a recommendation or endorsement of any particular investment or investment strategy, and is for illustrative purposes only. Be sure to understand all risks involved with each strategy, including commission costs, before attempting to place any trade. Clients must consider all relevant risk factors, including their own personal financial situations, before trading.

This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business or where such offer or solicitation would be contrary to the local laws and regulations of that jurisdiction, including, but not limited to persons residing in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UK, and the countries of the European Union.

TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. TD Ameritrade is a trademark jointly owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and The Toronto-Dominion Bank. © 2018 TD Ameritrade.

Scroll to Top