With everyone in your family gathering together during the holiday season, we know your thoughts are turning to things that bring joy to your family and friends. From gifts to buy and cookies to prepare and memories to make, there is so much going on to celebrate. While you consider what to give those you care about most, let us share the holiday gift you may not have considered.

When it comes to your loved ones, that you care most about, you want the best for them. During this December one of the best gifts you can give is that of your time. Although it seems like a simple gift, it is one of the most valuable. During the time spent, especially with parents and grandparents, you can learn how they are doing and talk to them about long-term planning. While it is true that this is a subject that most of us would like to avoid, it is one of critical importance. Having the time to discuss early, before a crisis occurs, what your aging loved ones would want to happen to their person is invaluable. Beyond this, the peace of mind that comes from the family being able to work with an experienced elder law attorney to ensure a lifetime of savings is protected from nursing home bills is an invaluable gift.

How would you start this conversation with loved ones about long-term planning? Let us share five ideas you may use when talking to your loved ones about long-term care planning over the holidays.

1. Consider what you would like to say beforehand. Prior to raising the subject of long-term care planning with your parents or other loved ones, think about what it is you want to achieve with this conversation. For example, does it worry you that your parents do not have long-term care plans in place? If so, are you asking them to create it? Are you offering to help them do this? Will you find an attorney to work with?

2. Come prepared with suggestions. If you would like to encourage your parents to establish long-term care plans, especially when it comes to applying for benefits such as Medicaid, keep in mind that they might not already have done this because they do not know where to start. Bring some basic, neutral information so they can educate themselves at their own pace if that is something they would like to do. Our website is a free resource for you to use on the subject.

3. Choose one subject to focus on for now. While it may seem like opportunities for deep conversation do not come around every day and you want to make the most of this one, try to keep the discussion contained and focused. Maybe discussing just some basics would be the best place to start. Do they want to stay in their home? What can be done to help keep them safe in their home as they age? Do they have long-term care insurance?

4. Keep the big picture in mind. Chances are, as discussed above, by keeping your eye on the big picture of getting your loved ones started with long-term care planning and letting some of the details wait for next time, there may be a greater chance that what is discussed will stick.

5. Focus on the future. While long-term planning can be a scary subject because it involves thinking about growing old or becoming ill, it can also be framed as a way to plan for everyone’s future. When your parents or loved ones plan for their long-term care, the entire family can benefit from the peace of mind that comes with that.

Our office is available to help you and your loved ones navigate long-term care planning. We work with Ohio seniors and their loved ones each day. Please feel free to reach out to us to schedule a meeting now or any time throughout the year.