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How to Open the Conversation about Aging & Care with Elder Law Clients

Most parents face some trepidation when preparing to have “the talk” with their children. When those children are all grown up, it will eventually be their turn to have an equally uncomfortable “talk” with their aging parents.

It’s difficult to start a conversation with aging parents about elder care and planning they might need in the future. Aging presents a host of potential mental, physical, legal, and financial challenges. As an attorney in elder care law, you can provide thoughtful and responsible counsel on elder law planning to your clients and their families. In some cases, your clients or your client’s families might come to you for advice about how to address the topic. Here are a few ways aging and elder care planning can be addressed, according to CareConversations.org.

Be specific and honest

If your client or your client’s family seems overwhelmed with addressing broad questions about health or the future, advise them to start small. They might ask, “How often do you go to the grocery store?” or “Is it hard to bring in groceries?” The answers to these simple, but specific, questions can help determine if your client might be having more trouble than normal and might require extra care.

Also advise your clients and their families to be honest about the situation. There will be times when a direct conversation is the best approach. Advise family to speak honestly about their own experiences. Expressing themselves may encourage that same openness from their aging loved ones. For example, family members might explain that they are worried they won’t have the right information to make decisions on their parents’ behalf in the future. This help puts the focus on children rather than the aging parents.

Talk about others

Talking about others can be beneficial because it also takes the focus off of aging clients. If your clients are uncomfortable talking about their own needs or concerns, they may feel more comfortable speaking about others. Rather than advising your client’s family to discuss their parents’ wishes for the future, advise them to ask their parents about how they felt when caring for their own aging parent or relative. Ask about that experience, and what they might have wanted to change or improve.

As you counsel your senior clients, or their family members, you may want to keep these tips on hand to help create a sense of ease about conversations that need to occur. It is crucial, as you know, that all parties be willing so that clear and effective planning for all eventualities can be discussed and taken into account.

We encourage you to reach out to ElderCounsel if you are seeking new ways of building your elder law practice, developing new referral sources or for educational support. If you have any questions on how we can partner with you in this regard please request a brief consultation, call us at (888) 789-9908, or email us at info@eldercounsel.com.

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