Preparing for a constructive conversation
It may not be a fun conversation. But there’s often a direct correlation between how difficult a subject is to talk about and how important it is to have that talk.
At the same time, comfort, quality of life, and a good measure of independence can often be maintained with reasonable preparation - which starts with a conversation.
Start talking about the future, whatever stage of life you’re in right now. Establish plans that will help you and your loved ones continue to live on your own terms, as fully as possible throughout your entire life.
57% of consumers have not talked to anyone about the potential need for long term care.
Let's Talk Research, Genworth, March 2015
To get started, here are a few ways to break the ice:
- Be Open – Come out and tell them that you’d like to talk about these issues and ask if they would mind talking about them.
- Be Reflective – When you’re together, ask about the past, their childhood, and their parents. Learn about them. Then move on to the future. What do they want most? How do they perceive the future? What worries them?
- Establish a goal - outline what you would like to accomplish.
- Discuss Someone Else’s Situation – Chances are that you, your spouse or partner or your parents know someone who is already dealing with some aspect of aging or long term care. Talking what’s good or bad about their situation can be a useful launching point.
- Present a story – Give them a clipping, or link to information about planning ahead, family conversations, long term care costs, and move forward from there.
- Ask for Advice – This is a great way to get the discussion rolling. Tell them that you’re starting a retirement account or preparing a will and ask for advice. Then ask how they planned ahead and if they feel fully prepared.
- Write – If you find the whole thing too daunting, write a letter or e-mail outlining your concerns and what you would like to discuss. This can be particularly helpful if you live far away and only have a weekend to have these talks. You can pave the way and get them to start thinking about it before you get together.