20 Tough Questions to Ask Your Aging Loved One

By on September 8, 2015
20 questions to ask your aging loved ones

By Cher Zavala –

Being a caregiver is hard enough without having to talk about it with your friends and family. Already you are juggling myriad responsibilities — your kids, your job, your home, your spouse, and your aging loved one — as well as a number of conflicting emotions — love, regret, frustration, devotion, fear, and more. Interrupting your tight schedule to express your worries and fears usually doesn’t seem at all worthwhile.

However, there are concerns that only your aging loved one can address. Before you run out of time, you must sit down and have a serious conversation with your loved one concerning their decisions regarding health, lifestyle, estate, and more. To guide that conversation, here are 20 of the most important questions you must ask.

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20 questions to ask aging loved onesHealth and Health Care

  • How are you feeling? This may seem like a simple, meaningless question, but taking time to ask about your loved one’s emotional state can be enough to make him or her feel dramatically better.
  • Are your medications easy to take? Pills can be huge these days, and finding alternative ways to take medications — like dissolving them in food or water — might help your loved one to take them regularly.
  • Can I help you remember to take your medications? Sometimes, the daily pill boxes aren’t enough to remind aging loved ones of their prescriptions, but a human prompt is.
  • Is your current health care plan enough to cover your potential future tests and procedures? Many times, hale and hardy seniors fail to consider how quickly their health may change, and those old policies likely don’t cover the extensive medical attention your loved one will soon need.
  • Do you need assistance completing forms at medical centers or for insurance? Your aging loved one might not be able to read the small print, write legibly, or understand the questions.
  • Do you have concerns or questions about your current treatments? Care givers might assume that aging loved ones want anything to ease pain or extend life, but that isn’t necessarily true.

Finances

    • Can you pay for what you need? You need to be able to factor your loved one’s financial necessities into your monthly budget in case they lack the funds to pay for their lifestyle.
    • Will you grant me access to your financial accounts? In the near future, your loved one may not be able to manage his or her finances, so gaining control of their finances now may be wise, even if you do not use them.
  • Is all of your financial information in a single place? It is much easier to manage another’s finances when they are locatable and organized.
  • Do you have a financial advisor? You should get in touch with your loved one’s advisor ASAP.
  • Do you have any safe-deposit boxes or secret hiding places? It isn’t unheard of for people to stash valuables in unlikely or unknown places.

Estate Planning

  • Do you have an established estate plan? Finance professionals advocate setting up a will or trust in your mid-20s, so lacking an estate plan in advanced age is a serious cause for concern.
  • Do you have a living will? Also called advanced directives, these tell physicians and family about your loved one’s wishes for medical care in the event your loved one cannot communicate them him- or herself.
  • Is everything current? Most people create an estate plan and never think about it again, but situations change and many aspects of your loved one’s plan may be outdated, including power of attorney, beneficiaries, financial accounts, and more.
  • What are your particular after-death wishes? Many people harbor secret wishes that may not exactly align with their living beliefs — for example, a devout Catholic may request a cremation service or opt to go that route in order to keep their loved ones from having to pay for an expensive funeral — so you should ask for the specifics to be truly respectful.
  • Are you an organ donor? While this information might be available in living wills, estate plans, or even wallets, you might want to know ahead of time how your loved one wants his or her healthy body parts treated.

Lifestyle Choices

  • How is your mobility? Aging loved ones who could once easily ascend stairs may eventually find the task trying. It is best to check in every once in a while to prevent potentially tragic accidents.
  • How are your eyesight and hearing? If your loved one is losing vision and hearing fast, you will need to devote more of your time to helping him or her complete daily tasks.
  • Would any home modifications make your life easier? It may be costly, but widening doorways, lowering countertops and adding safety features to bathrooms can dramatically improve your loved one’s day-to-day.
  • What are your feelings on care facilities? You cannot expect to provide your loved one with the absolute best attention and care when you have so many other responsibilities, but care facilities are not right for everyone.

 

Cher has worked in various Industries and has written many health related articles and contributed to a number of sites. She loves sharing her experiences and knowledge with the blogging community.

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20 Tough Questions to Ask Your Aging Loved One