Aging parents can play a vital role in helping their children plan for the future. As our population ages, more and more people are finding themselves in the position of caring for elderly parents while also juggling the needs of young children. This can be a difficult balancing act, but it’s important to remember that your parents can be a valuable resource when it comes to planning for your family’s future. Here are a few ways that your aging parents can help you plan for the future.
Offer Advice and Guidance On Major Life Decisions
As our parents age, they tend to accumulate a wealth of wisdom and knowledge. This can be invaluable when it comes to making major life decisions, such as whether to pursue a certain career path or enter into a serious relationship. Of course, it’s important to respect your parents’ wishes and not blindly follow their advice. But hearing them out and considering their perspective can help you make better-informed decisions about your future.
The same goes for financial advice; while you may not want to rely on your parents to support you financially forever, their guidance can be helpful in ensuring that you make sound investments and avoid costly mistakes. This is especially true if your parents have already retired and are successfully managing their own finances. It can be difficult to have conversations about money with our parents, but doing so can help set you up for a more financially secure future.
I’ve often turned to my parents and my parents-in-law for advice on numerous topics, from gardening and cooking to buying a house. Whether or not I follow their advice, I feel better knowing that I discussed the matter with them and heard their perspective on it.
Purchase an Insurance Policy
As people age, it’s only natural for their thoughts to turn towards the future and what will happen to their loved ones when they’re gone. Aging parents can help their children by taking out an insurance policy that pays out if they pass away. This way, they can rest assured knowing that their loved ones will be taken care of financially if something happens to them. A life insurance policy can help pay for funeral and legal expenses related to your parents’ death, and also provide an inheritance for you and your siblings.
Update the Will
Many people put off updating their will, but it’s important to do so as your circumstances change. If you have minor children, you’ll want to name a legal guardian in case something happens to you and your spouse. Parents should also update their will if they move to a new state, since state laws vary, and in the case of a divorce or death of a spouse.
The process of updating your will is usually not too complicated or expensive, so there’s no excuse for putting it off. This is one of the most important things your parents can do for you (so try to remind them gently if you don’t think they’ve done it for a while). Knowing that your parents’ will is up-to-date can give you peace of mind knowing that your parents wishes will be followed if they pass away and there will be funds to cover any necessary expenses. This is especially important if one of your parents is still the breadwinner in the family.
Encourage Legal Preparations
Many times, parents don’t want to think about their own mortality. However, it’s important to have these conversations and make sure that legal preparations are done. Aging parents should purchase a life insurance policy, have a will in place, and designate a power of attorney. Although the death of a parent is always difficult to deal with, it will be much more difficult if there are huge funeral expenses, major decisions to make without guidance, and fights over family property because there were no instructions left about who inherits what.
Another important legal document is a healthcare directive. This ensures that your wishes regarding medical treatment are carried out if you’re unable to communicate them yourself. For example, you can specify whether or not you want to be kept on life support. This can take a lot of pressure off of your children during a difficult time.
When my aunt ended up in the hospital following a stroke, difficult healthcare decisions were left to my mom. She was grateful to have a clear healthcare directive from my aunt, so she knew she was following my aunt’s wishes in the decisions that were made during the last weeks of my aunt’s life. Those were difficult weeks for our entire family, but knowing that my aunt had expressed what she wanted done if such a thing ever happened to her provided us with a measure of comfort.
It’s also a good idea to have all important documents, such as birth certificates and social security cards, in one place. Encourage your parents to be organized and ask them where such documents are should you need to find them. We always hope the unexpected doesn’t happen, but it’s good to have a plan in place should it happen.
A Family Helping Each Other
Aging parents can help their children by staying active and involved in their lives, providing emotional support, and offering financial assistance when needed. Additionally, aging parents can help their children by remaining positive role models and sharing their wisdom and experience with them. By doing these things, aging parents can continue to make a valuable contribution to their children’s lives even as they enter their own golden years. The most important thing is to keep the lines of communication open and to show your children that you love them unconditionally, no matter what.
How do you stay involved in the life of your aging parents, and how do they help you in your life?
Photos by LOGAN WEAVER | @LGNWVR and Philippe Leone on Unsplash.
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