Have you asked the right questions of your elderly parent?

Sharing is caring!

Last week I had another sad reminder that life can be very unpredictable.  A very good friend of mine lost her mother.  She died suddenly and it came as a shock to her whole family.

Photo Credit: 1-800-flowers

It reminded me of my father’s passing in December that was very similar. He was hospitalized on a Wednesday and passed on Sunday.  No one can prepare you for the heartache that comes with that.  As she is processing the death and dealing with the aftermath, I am reminded of what I need to discuss with my mother.  I knew what had to be done for my father but we have not discussed, as a family, what my mother’s wishes are.

A few things that did come to mind that were important where some of the precautionary actions that made final moment decision making easier, we had them set up for my father:

  • Financial Power of Attorney
  • Health care Power of Attorney

These two forms were set up in advance and greatly helped when the transition and decisions had to be made.  Events can happen quickly and decisions instant, so knowing what your parents wanted in the end makes everything a bit smoother (I refrain from using the word ‘easier’ because making those life-support decisions are never easy).

Another very important and life-impacting decisions are funeral related.

  • Will it be a private family service or public funeral?
  • Will it be held in a church or the funeral home?
  • Have you discussed whether your wanted a cremation or a burial?
  • Whether you wanted open or closed casket?
  • Will you hold a visitation or just have a funeral?
  • Will there be a burial site ceremony?
  • Where will they be buried?
  • What will you do with the ashes, if you have chosen this option.

Other less pressing but important questions that you may have are:

  • Where will you have the service?
  • Can speeches be made at the services?
  • Who will speak at the funeral?
  • Will you be accepting flowers or are you asking for donations?
  • If donations, what will be the selected charities?
  • Do you have a Will made?
  • Who is the executor of the will?

It is never easy to make these decisions but I have come to find out that they can be much harder to make when you have to make them under duress.

Take the time to have these conversations in a calm, nurturing, adult way as possible.  Ensure that everyone in the family is made aware that there are different roles that we can play to make the transition easier.  Involving a lawyer is paramount when settling an estate. It is not easy to broach but I know that having this conversation with my mother will be so much easier because of some of the experience of what we had to do with my dad.

All of these final decision are theirs to make but knowing that the structure is already in place and their wishes followed. I can make the most difficult time of anyone’s life a bit easier.

{ Note: The Government of Canada has Death Benefit to help survivors, spouses and next of kin, cover some of the funeral costs.  Please look into this as those costs can be unbelievably costly.}

Website | + posts

Margarita Ibbott is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She blogs about travel in Canada, the United States and Europe giving practical advice through restaurant, hotel and attraction reviews. She writes for DownshiftingPRO.com and other online media outlets.

4 thoughts on “Have you asked the right questions of your elderly parent?”

  1. Great article. Something we all need to know and think about ahead of time. i shared the article on my fb page. i hope that is ok.

  2. Oh margarita! Thank you for being there last week! What a sad week. This is so important. We knew all our Mom’s wishes but many do not. Talk about it now!!

    • I am there for you Paula. I know I have to have this conversation with my mom when she gets back. It will be easier but no less painful that life is not infinite.

Comments are closed.