The Holidays Are a Time for Sharing (Your Wishes)

While cognitive decline isn’t the most festive topic to bring up during a holiday get-together, getting the conversation started now can ensure everything is in place if, or when, something happens.

A younger woman and an older woman have a serious conversation during a holiday dinner.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ham or turkey, mashed potatoes and pie — that’s many people's idea of a great holiday meal. Discussions about cognitive decline? Not so much. But maybe this year, that's exactly what you should be adding to your family get-together.

For many families, the holidays are the rare occasion when the entire clan gathers under one roof, making it a great opportunity to delve into important family matters. As a financial planner, I've seen my fair share of heart-wrenching situations stemming from a lack of planning for cognitive decline. It ranges from an older woman found wandering her neighborhood late at night to a grandfather whose driving posed significant risk. Confronting these events can throw families into crisis, forcing them to make critical life decisions in a matter of days. Regrettably, hurried decisions rarely make for thoughtful evaluation.

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This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC or with FINRA.

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Erin Wood, CFP®, CRPC®, FBSⓇ
Senior Vice President, Financial Planning, Carson Group

Erin Wood is the Senior Vice President of Financial Planning at Carson Group, where she develops strategies to help families achieve their financial goals. She holds Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor and Certified Financial Behavior Specialist designations.