Modern Australian

Why having ‘the talk’ with your parents is key to their future

  • Written by Adam Santarossa


INCREASINGLY more and more people are entering in to aged care, leaving the ‘baby boomer’ generation dealing with elderly parents who may be struggling to live independently but may not want to move out of the family home.


Brenda Will, Financial Adviser and Accredited Aged Care Specialist has seen a rise in issues relating to moving elderly parents into aged care facilities.  Preparing for this move can be confusing and difficult, which often leads to no action at all by families.


“Many older children who are in their 40s or 50s dread having the talk with their parents because it’s too complicated and confronting for everyone involved,” Ms Will said.


“I’m urging families to get the together and have the talk as the first step.”


“Avoidance is the biggest issue – most families just don’t want to talk about it or make a plan for a family member to transition into aged care until they’re in a crisis in hospital and need to make a rushed decision about the next step.” 


“If you find it too challenging emotionally then bring in a financial adviser who’s got the right knowledge to facilitate it.”


“It means you can get all the right information and remove the stress when the time comes.”


“The industry is rapidly evolving because of the increase in demand, rules and regulations are constantly changing.


“Not adequately planning or delaying any decisions on aged care until it becomes a real issue can have grave consequences for a loved one.


“Conditions like dementia are also increasingly prevalent, so the adult child is often left trying to manage a parent who is not really that same parent figure anymore.”


Ms. Will suggested ‘the talk’ covered off the following things:


  • Pick an appropriate time and meet on neutral ground:  Don’t start the discussion on Christmas Day when everyone is in the room.  Find a time and place that’s not attached to anything else. 
  • Who will have power of attorney: Make estate planning less about emotion and more about practicalities. Is there a suitable adult child take on this role?  Might your nomination lead to fighting among siblings? It’s important to nominate a power of attorney and enduring guardian, as in instances of dementia and mental illness, this can’t be done if left to the last minute when the parent no longer has legal capacity.
  • Home care:  This is becoming a more popular option. Consider the cost of bringing carers into the house and setting up the home with ramps, rails and other equipment to make it more ‘ageing friendly’.
  • Understand the options and costs:  The cost of moving into aged care is the most common issue and involves a lot of fear around having to sell the family home to cover moving into an aged care facility.  It’s important to have all the right information together in one place as this will make decisions easier.  It may help to get a specialist aged care financial planner to walk you and your family through the options, the costs and the impact on your parents.
  • Planning for couples and singles:  Have options in place for both parents to move into aged care, or for when one passes away, and another if one moves into aged care and the other stays at home.  Navigating aged care can be even more complicated for couples so it’s important to consider all possibilities and costs.


“There hasn’t really been one place people can go to get the right information. People generally get different bits of advice through various bodies, aged care facilities and Centrelink,” Ms. Will said.


“The independence a financial advisor can offer is important.  It can help to have someone looking out for your best interests and providing you with the right information without conflicts of interest.”


For more information about navigating aged care for elderly parents, a free information session will be held at Bendat Parent & Community Centre in Wembley on May 16th -


About Brenda Will and Boutique Advisers-

Brenda is a Financial Adviser and has worked in the financial planning industry since 1998.  She is an accredited Aged Care specialist adviser and a Certified Financial Planner, holding a Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Financial Services as well as a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine & Surgery (Hons).   


Brenda is a passionate advocate of ageing well.  This often means working with clients in exploring financial options and accommodation options that help to prioritise health, lifestyle and fulfilment no matter what your age.  As well as assisting clients and clients’ families on a one on one basis, she also visits community, seniors and retiree groups to try to improve public education and awareness of aged care issues, accommodation options and the importance of ageing well, by speaking on these and related topics.


This article contains information that is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs before making any decisions based on this information.


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