The moment it occurs, you will know it. That moment when you know your parent or parents may no longer be able to make it on their own. It involves the disorienting reversal of roles, where you, as an adult child realize that you may have to help your parents make a decision they may not want to make.

There are so many things to consider. Simply finding a nursing home or long-term care facility can be daunting. There are so many factors, from the location and condition of the facility to quality the staff and whether the facility is affordable. None of these decisions are easy, and overcoming the emotional and psychological barriers to having that conversation with your parents may be one of the most difficult.

The earlier you can begin this conversation, the better. Ideally, your parents should have a comprehensive estate plan with provisions to cover long-term care and other issues related to this topic. The cost of long-term care can be crushing, running thousands of dollars every month.

They may hope Medicare or Medicaid will help. Those programs may provide assistance, but they have complex rules and attempting to learn about them, how they work, what their requirements are, what “spend down” and “look back,” mean, all at the same time as attempting to find a place for mom or dad, especially if they are struck by a health crisis, can be overwhelming.

What you need is clear and knowledgeable legal advice that can help you with both the search for a home for your parents and what you need to do to get them there. With that help, you can at least feel that their decisions and yours are informed and not made in desperation.