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Hewison Insights

The holiday season brings families together.

Travis Schindler
Partner & Wealth Adviser
6 Jan 2023

Christmas is a time for families and the New Year is for resolutions. This year, combine the two by making a resolution to pay more attention to how your older parents or loved ones are coping.

Over the festive season and summer holidays many families come together, providing the perfect opportunity to really connect and spend time with one another in an otherwise busy year. This may be the time when you notice the small things about how well your parents are coping and is often the perfect time to start a family conversation to develop a plan for future care needs and support, if needed.

You might not want to face that your parents or loved ones are getting older and may need help. If you are the older person, asking for help does not have to be the start of a slippery slope. Rather, it might be the first step to having greater control over your future independence and reduce some of the daily strain on yourself and other family members.

It might be time for a family meeting

Planning is the key. And planning early gives the best outcomes.

Retirement plans should consider how to manage the frailty risk that might be experienced in the later stages of retirement. Bringing family into the conversation may help to minimise conflicts within your family and help everyone be comfortable with decisions that need to be made.

Families getting together over the holiday period might offer one of the rare opportunities within a busy year to hold a family meeting. For the older parent, this offers the chance to make yourself heard and express your wishes. For the children, it can help to remove uncertainty and share the responsibilities. These discussions are more effective if they are started early, while parents are still able to maintain control and independence.

A well-run family meeting can allow parents, children and other important family members to discuss issues and preferences, express concerns and make decisions that work for the family as a whole.

Tips for starting a conversation

 Some tips for families to consider over the holidays, include:

  • Be observant for signs that parents may not be coping
  • Compare observations with other family members
  • Talk to your parents about their plans for the future, their concerns, your concerns and possible changes to living arrangements, now or in the near future
  • Start researching aged care options (including home care) and understand the costs
  • Check that enduring power of attorney documents and wills are in place and still relevant – seek legal advice to review and update documents
  • And, if care is needed now, consider contacting myagedcare.gov.au to arrange an assessment.

If the thought of these discussions fills you with dread, Hewison Private Wealth can offer support and experienced advice on what can be an emotional discussion.

More than anything, both myself and the entire team at Hewison Private Wealth, wish you a Happy New Year and a wonderful 2023.