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Discussions surrounding long-term care planning can be difficult. No one wants to think about the toll that the passage of time can have on one’s mind and body. However, it’s better to have these conversations now than scrambling for long-term care help at the moment you need it.

Planning for long-term care can help ensure your parents will have the assistance they need without having to give away all of their assets.

Ease yourself into the topic

No one wants to be told what to do, especially when demands are coming from one’s children. Your parents raised you, and they’re used to being the ones in control. Don’t forcefully broach the topic. It’s best to lead up to the conversation.

Start talking about their retirement plans. Then you can start to steer the conversation toward the cost of living. Let them know that if they’re ever in a situation that calls for long-term care, it can get very expensive very fast. Any savings they’ve built over the years can be depleted in a matter of months.

Tell them that relying on Medicaid is not an option for most people. They likely won’t meet the strict income requirements necessary to qualify for Medicaid benefits. Without long-term care planning, they will have to “spend down” most of their assets to get Medicaid assistance.

If your parents have an estate plan in place, tell them it might be a good time to review their plan. They might wish to update their advanced healthcare directives. They might want to consider putting some assets in a trust, which can make them eligible for long-term care assistance without having to shed their assets.

Focus the conversation on doing what is best for your parents. Avoid ultimatums. If your parents are uncomfortable or push back, let things go for the moment. If you can make this a semi-regular topic of conversation, it’s likely they will eventually come around.