I’m a little concerned about my parents. They’re getting on in age, and I worry that they haven’t prepared for their later years. They aren’t savvy with computers or technology, so I want to make sure that they are getting information from trustworthy sources. Do you have any recommendations?
-Concerned Adult Kid in Milwaukee
Having a conversation like this with your parents can be difficult. For most of us, our parents are our caregivers our whole lives, and then the roles reverse and they’re the ones who need support and care. This role reversal isn’t easy for the kids or the parents.
The best way to get this process going is to keep an open line of dialogue with your parents. If they aren’t tech-savvy, help them understand the importance of password security and preventing ID theft. Many seniors are using laptops and iPads to connect with their grandchildren or browse the web. There may be classes at the local senior center or library to help teach basic computer usage and ways to protect against scams. Offer as much support as you can, and try to be as open to support as possible. Your input could be the difference between your parents being scammed and your parents being safe.
Obviously, the conversation will vary based on your parents’ needs. You are going to need to assess what kind of help your parents may require. Our Elder Care Family Guide helps you recognize when to step in and how to initiate that conversation.
For some, their parents are not in the best of health, and the conversation will need to include a plan on where parents might live. Do they need assisted living? Do they need to be in a nursing home? Is there money set aside to pay for this kind of living arrangement? Familiarize yourself with elder care options and what to expect.
Maybe your parents are in relatively good shape and intend to stay as independent as possible. If so, it can be a tricky landscape to maneuver without guidance. We have resources to help your parents understand what they need to stay independent.
Wherever your parents may be in their needs, try to be as supportive and non-judgmental as possible. The conversation may even help improve your relationship and bring you closer together!