Back in July, I received an email from Constance Garcia-Barrio, who wanted to interview me for an article that she was writing for Milestones – News and Possibilities for Seniors, a publication of the Philadelphia Corporation for the Aging.

In her article, she writes, “Philadelphians have access to many resources and possibilities that let us shape the end of life into what we want it to be.” Her article, An Empowered Death: Taking Control of the End of Life, is full of important information that can help everyone take control in many ways.

During our interview, we talked about how writing your wishes down and developing a plan puts you in the driver’s seat in matters big and small. Although many consider talking about end-of-life and estate planning an onerous task, Beverly Bernstein Joie, founder and president of Complete Care Strategies, a senior care management company serving Philadelphia and its surrounding communities, sees it as empowering.

In her blog post, Empowered Aging – How to talk to aging parents about their future, she writes, “It can be an empowering process… Actively speaking with your parent about their goals, changing needs and end of life wishes will insure that everyone is on the same page. Sitting down with your aging parent will help you gain clear understanding of your parents’ wishes and how they would prefer their aging journey to play out.”

Many people ask: when is the right time to have this conversation? Beverly Bernstein Joie states that using the 40 /70 benchmark can be helpful. If you are 40 years old or your parents have reached 70, the conversation is needed. However, everyone, regardless of age, should sit down with their loved ones and outline a plan of action should a crisis occur and you are no longer able to speak for yourself.

Bernstein Joie has a five-question guide for senior care planning. These questions are jumping off points for you to ask your aging parents (for the expanded version, please see her blogpost).

  1. Where do you prefer to live?
  2. What is your current financial situation?
  3. What is your current health situation?
  4. What legal arrangements are in place for long term care and estate?
  5. Who are the primary decision makers?

Pre-planning can bring peace of mind to all of those involved in senior care planning. Helping your parent(s) to express their desires, wishes and needs about end-of-life choices can be empowering. By taking a proactive approach, your parent(s) can control their aging journey and may help you help them live the life they want.

Organizing an estate plan is a gift of love that is given to those who are left behind. It is a kindness that is never forgotten. For information about how RieOrganize! can help you begin the conversation, text or call Rie at 215.435.5609 or see our website at