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Discussing long-term care planning can provide peace of mind

Many District of Columbia residents have put plans into place for the possibility of needing long-term care later in life. However, nowhere near as many people discuss their long-term care planning with adult children. This could be because many individuals are under the impression that they will not need the assistance of their children in the future.

Unfortunately, for many elderly parents, the help of adult children could be crucial. More adult children believe that they will need to help their aging parents, and they could be right. As the population of the country continues to age -- and the cost of health care continues to increase -- more people could discover that the financial arrangements they made were not adequate.

It is not only the financial aspects of care planning that need to be shared with family. One of the major concerns that many people have when a parent becomes incapacitated or ill is what kind of care he or she would want. Health care powers of attorney and other advance medical directives can shed some light on an individual's wishes, but if family members do not know where to find the documentation, or have no other indication of what he or she wants, costly delays can occur -- not only monetarily, but also physically.

It may be difficult for some District of Columbia residents to discuss their possible incapacitation or death with their adult children. However, an uncomfortable conversation now could prevent costly and time-consuming delays later when family members may scramble to deal with long-term care planning without the input of their loved one. These discussions can also help an individual determine who will be in charge of his or her affairs if needed. The documents and understandings borne from family discussions could give everyone peace of mind.

Source: Bloomberg, "The Most Uncomfortable, Important Talk You May Ever Have", Carol Hymowitz, Aug. 7, 2014

Source: Bloomberg, "The Most Uncomfortable, Important Talk You May Ever Have", Carol Hymowitz, Aug. 7, 2014

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