Paying for health care is the biggest worry for aging Canadians – Is your family talking about this?
October 21st, 2014 by Families First Mediation

There was a recent article by The Canadian Press that stated  “Working longer may not be possible after serious health events and that paying for health care in old age is Canadians biggest worry.”  

The article (read it here) identifies that 47% said they worried about needing more long-term care than they have the money for, while 45 % said they fret over whether they’ll outlive their savings.

If these are the concerns, how do you manage them? For starters, how do you even talk about them with your family?

Should your wife/husband and/or children be aware of what your long-term care wishes are? Should they know how much you have available and what you would like if your savings are not sufficient? 

Typically with the aging population when trying to have any of these conversations you hear the response “It won’t be my problem, it will be my kids problem”. While it’s true that the burden may fall on your children to help manage these issues, shouldn’t they at least know what your wishes are?

  • Do you want to stay in your home as long as possible?
  • Does your family know where you would like the care facility to be? (Understanding that a long wait list may aid in making a different decision)
  • Are there Powers of Attorneys and do the correct people know why they were chosen and what your wishes are?
  • Have you made adequate and/or appropriate decisions around finances for your spouse? Is he/she aware of what they are?

Are you seeing a pattern here? Although many of these are seen as strictly financial decisions, they also come with transitions.

If you have health concerns, wouldn’t you prefer to have the support of your family? That’s easier when they are already on board with your decisions, not left scrambling to sort through your finances and guess at what your wishes are in a crisis situation.  I say crisis situation because often people don’t plan for their health to decline and don’t communicate about health care issues until it’s too late.

So, if paying for health care in old age is the biggest worry among Canadians why aren’t more people not only planning for it but talking about it?

Communication is key, both before, during and after a health crisis. Family Mediation; including Elder Mediation, is a great solution to help your family talk about these difficult issues in a safe and confidential environment.

Julie Gill Q.Med, CDFA

Owner, Families First Mediation

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