It is never easy to talk with your parents about future issues. Here are some conversation starters that will make it more comfortable for you and your parents.
- “Mom, you’ve been such a great help to me over the years. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
- “Mom and Dad, sometimes I worry about you living all alone. Are there any things we could do to help you?”
- “Dad, when Uncle Jim passed away, his family fought for weeks over things. Do you ever worry that Mike and I will be like that?”
- “Ever since Mom’s stroke, I’ve been worried about your meals and things. Are you doing all right?”
- “Jim and I started looking closer at our retirement account, and we’d love to pick your brain about all the things we need to know about retirement.”
- “Dad, do you ever worry about Mom if she had to go it alone without you?”
Parents, listen to your children. And children, listen to your parents. This is a critical conversation for all of you, and you want to make sure you communicate well. Just like when we were kids at school, don’t be afraid to raise your hand and ask questions. Making assumptions or guessing about what the other one wants can be dangerous and lead to places you don’t want to go. Remember what your teachers used to tell you: there’s no such thing as a dumb question!
For more help on this and many other topics related to your aging parents and their stuff, please read my book, The Boomer Burden: Dealing with Your Parents’ Lifetime Accumulation of Stuff. It’s available from Amazon.com or click on the link at the right of this article.
© 2010 Julie Hall