Bridging the Gap: 5 Steps to Talking to Aging Parents

By Sarah Sexton | Publish Date October 11, 2022

Patti Black, daughter of former Kirkwood residents Mack and Ann Boatwright, is a local Certified Financial Planner with Bridgeworth Wealth Management. With experience in caring for older adults and her extensive knowledge of financial advising, Patti has put together helpful documents for navigating what can be difficult conversations regarding next steps in securing your loved one’s future.

Today, we would like to offer a synopsis of “Bridging the Gap: A White Paper Guide to Talking to Aging Parents,” a tool for adult children who are worried about their aging parents. To access the full document, please click the link below.

Discussing your parents or an aging loved one’s physical, mental, and financial health can be anxiety-filled for both parties. As explained in full detail in the white paper, Patti offers five tips to bridge the knowledge gap between you and your aging parents that can help ease your mind and theirs as you navigate conversations about the future.

Step 1: Start with the topic that is least stressful for you and your parents.

Step 2: Gather contact information for your parent’s financial and medical professionals, including their account, financial planner, estate attorney, banker, insurance agents, doctors, and pharmacists.

Step 3: Ask your parents where to find important documents.

Step 4: Talk to your parents about long-term care.

Step 5: Discuss end-of-life care, including funeral and burial plans.

    • As Patti expresses, “These conversations are difficult, but better a little discomfort now than the nagging realization that you do not know what your parents want.” These conversations will take time, but starting the conversation is important. “You will not regret it. They will not regret it.”

The Residents

Our residents come from different backgrounds and bring their unique qualities, talents, and life experiences to complete the Kirkwood community. Here are just a few reflections from some individuals who call Kirkwood their home.

I fell in love with the cottage and the view from my back porch. I am excited to have a yard for Ginger, my poodle, to play in and my own garage, all within an established retirement community!

Charlotte Hamilton Current Resident

My husband and I looked at a number of places when deciding to move to a retirement community. For the most part, we found communities that said, ‘We’re going to take care of you.’ But Kirkwood was different. It wasn’t just about taking care of us. It was also about having fun, having friends, and living life to the fullest. The attitude at Kirkwood was positive and the atmosphere was comforting. We simply couldn’t resist. Without a doubt, the location was ideal. The Cahaba Room that overlooks the river, the mountains, the trails – there were just so many things about life. The community was lively. It was alive.

Alice Brooks Current Resident

We realized we were approaching an age where we might need more assistance than what just downsizing could provide. Knowing we have my sons nearby and the levels of care should we need it is comforting, and the beautiful hillside, river, and the woods makes it that much more appealing. We don’t know of any other community that has the woods, the various levels of care, and so many different amenities.

Phyllis and John Guschke Current Residents

We were moving my parents down from the Cleveland area to be near us. I looked at almost every retirement place in the Birmingham area. The second I turned into Kirkwood’s drive and drove up the hill, I knew that I’d found the perfect place for my parents to live in Alabama. In the six years that my parents have been at Kirkwood, I have always felt nothing but love and helpfulness from every staff member. Everyone is always helpful with a pleasant attitude. You can truly see and feel the family atmosphere. I’m happy that my parents can call Kirkwood their home.

Brenda Sheehan Kirkwood family member

When we learned that Cedar Ridge was being developed, that seemed to fit our needs very well. It is the ideal place for the next phase of our retirement.

Carol and Arthur Stephens Current Residents

One thing that we feel is very important here at Kirkwood by the River is the relationship that we have between the staff and the residents. They are dedicated to making our life here as safe and secure and pleasurable as possible. That goes a long way.

Fred Rogers Current Resident

The community's cottage living surrounded by a wooded, natural environment with access to future healthcare services is what attracted us to Kirkwood!

Rick and Jane Ricketts Current Residents