The college has been/will be confirmed closed soon. We have a total of 40 (give or take) students attending the college this year.
I'm just amazed that they can build an igloo big enough to fit even 40 students, but you are saying there are bigger colleges in the great, white north. Perhaps the school closing is because they are losing too many students to Polar Bear attacks. It's got to be tough fighting polar bears on your way to school.
Global warming, eh?
On a more serious note, for those of us facing "parents getting old" difficulties... we're in the same boat, though those around at this point are doing okay. But we did lose my dad back in April and my step-dad in January 2013. Lung cancer, from smoking. Shouldn't be surprised.
Anyway, the lesson we learned was to talk this stuff out NOW, while the parent is in a condition to do so, and while they can make decisions and their wishes known. It's going to be uncomfortable at first. "Sooooo, you're getting old and will croak one of these days. Oh, no - you look fine NOW, but you never know, right? Haha!" If you have brothers and sisters, make sure they are directly involved from the start, just so there aren't any accusations of someone trying to become "the favorite" before the 'rents die.
Really, you're just trying to get this stuff out in the open so everyone knows what to expect, what's wanted for end-of-life care, the wishes for the funeral, and whatever other eventualities may arise. For instance, Mom says no assisted living or anything like that. Great - that's a big burden on us if she has a long-term debilitating illness, but that's what she wants for now. Maybe her feelings will change if / when it happens. What do you want should you go into a comatose state? What sort of revival / resuscitation measures should be taken, and under what circumstances?
Do you have stuff / items that should go to this or that person? For instance, Mom has earmarked certain family heirlooms for certain people, so there shouldn't be any confusion or gripes about what happens to some of the personal stuff.
Get the stuff in writing. Get people designated as the medical and financial decision-makers. Hospitals these days have paperwork for that, and some government bodies will have this stuff, as well. For instance, our local hospitals have paperwork to cover the medical side, and our state of Wisconsin has free forms for the financial / legal stuff.
If a parent has an illness with an inevitable outcome, such as our step-dad's lung cancer (dad's was too quick to do much about), take the time to get paperwork transferred over to the surviving parent while the ill parent is still able to take care of this stuff. For example, Mom had some difficulty with bills, car title and registration, etc., because both names were left on the accounts. So a lot of stuff had to be handled in person - with death certificate in hand - and that's just added stress and pain after the death.
To make things a bit easier in the event that Mom becomes debilitated, my brother and I have been made Signatories on her bank accounts. This means we can deposit and spend funds as needed without being financially tied to her accounts ourselves. You do NOT want to be made a co-owner of their accounts; as the mind starts to fail, who knows what crazy financial shit they might get themselves into without you knowing. If you're a co-owner of the account, you'll be on the hook for whatever it is they do.
One other thing that came from dealing with these things early: when the inevitable end came, in those last couple weeks, we didn't have to worry about a lot of these things and there were no arguments about how the final days were to be handled as far as pain management and the like.
My advice, then: do it now, while your parents can still talk about it with sound mind. It's painful at first, but then it turned into reflections on the past and talk of the future, and we got a lot of the worry about death out of the way so we could enjoy the remainder of life.
It's never easy, but it need not be overly difficult, either. Just make sure to get all of your brothers and sisters on-board and involved from the start.