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How do I talk to my parents about their long-term wishes?

En español | First, come up with an icebreaker on the topic of future long-term care, such as: “I’m starting to think about estate planning. Do you have any advice?” or “As time goes on, do you think you will want to stay in this house? It might be difficult with all the stairs.” The conversation will likely take place over time. Be open. Express your love and concern. And, most importantly, listen.

Once you’ve brought up the subject, bring in a few other trusted, close family members to be part of the process. Before you meet, consider: What are your goals? What are you prepared to do and not do?

It’s important to have a point person to keep the process going and make sure people understand what’s been decided. In most families, one person assumes the primary role because he or she lives nearby, has a close relationship with the parent or simply is a take-charge person. Expect that there may be conflicts, and don’t be afraid to talk them out.

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