It is a topic few people embrace, but it is a necessary discussion all the same: Long-term care planning for your elder loved ones. Like estate planning, which many associate with the death of a family member, long-term care planning can be a difficult subject to broach. However, once the discussion has begun, it will likely flow better than you expected. In some cases, the elders in a family have already become preoccupied with thoughts of the future and the potential need for long term care.

The Mayo Clinic advises people to start long term care planning as early as possible and most attorneys agree with this advice. An early start means you and your elders are at least partially prepared when or if the need for long term care arises. If you are having trouble starting the conversation, consider using the following tips.

Try to insert long term care topics into ordinary conversations. This may be especially effective if your elder loved one is already expressing some physical or mental difficulties.

Explain your concerns and the potential need for help: When a loved one understands that you are simply concerned for his or her health and well-being, the conversations may become easier.

Do not disregard your loved one’s wishes when discussing long term care options. Even if you disagree, always remember that your elder deserves your respect. Reminders about your concern for him or her may begin to make a difference as your discussions progress.

Gentle and loving persistence can go a long way toward helping your loved one make important decisions about long-term care. Both you and your elder can also consult with a New York-based estate planning attorney to explore the different options available for long-term care planning.

Source: MayoClinic.org, “Long-term care: Early planning pays off,” accessed April 12, 2016