Q: How do you talk to your elderly parents about their future care, finances, housing, etc.?
A: Great question and one that way too many families avoid until it is too late.
In our culture we plan for everything; beginning of life, where are children will go to school, our careers, major purchases, just about anything – we plan for. Sadly "the talk" eludes most conversations.
You need to be pro-active and set up a time and have a meeting. This is best done before your parents are too old to make these decisions for themselves. Cover all aspects of this subject: Power of Attorney, Medical Directive, End-of-life wishes, long-term care insurance, anything and everything.
It is in the best interest of your parents, not to mention yourself to have this conversation. It doesn't have to be morbid at all. Your parents, (unless they are quite unique) will more than likely not bring this subject up; it falls on you.
If you have a sibling, it's a good idea to have everyone involved. Once all documents are in place, put them in "the drawer." I believe in creating a special drawer where everything you need is there, so that when the time comes, no one is left wondering what to do. Be a responsible family when it comes to caring for your parents and your life will be infinitely better because of it.