Angela Bassett on Long-Term Care and Having 'That' Conversation

The 56-year-old looks better than ever and now we know why.

ByABC News
February 26, 2015, 5:25 AM
Actress Angela Bassett attends the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards, March 1, 2014 in Santa Monica, California.
Actress Angela Bassett attends the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards, March 1, 2014 in Santa Monica, California.
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

— -- Conversations about losing loved ones either now or in the future are difficult, but actress Angela Bassett said "they can be had" as long as they have compassion.

Indeed, the "Olympus Has Fallen" star spoke to ABC News for an initiative close to her heart called Let's Talk Now, created by Genworth. The idea is not to be afraid to have the conversation now with loved ones about long-term care and planning.

Bassett, 56, had to deal with different long-term care situations involving both her mother, Betty Jane, who died last year, and mother-in-law, who was diagnosed with ALS and is now living with her family.

"I know the importance of it," she said of having the discussion with your kids or other loved ones. "It's absolutely something we are each going to deal with, our parents as well as ourselves, one day."

Watch: Angela Bassett Makes Directorial Debut With 'Whitney'

Bassett, who has two children with her husband, actor Courtney B. Vance, said the important thing when discussing such issues is only bringing up what people can handle for their ages.

"We have their grandmother living with us, they get to see that up close and it's just another part of life," she said. "It's unfortunate, but what we need to do is put a plan in place. ... So that she can continue to live in comfort to the best of her ability and to what her desires would be. It's something I wasn't able to do with my mother but, fortunately, I had the resources to care for her."

The "American Horror Story" star said that while caring for her mother and mother-in-law, she discovered that nursing homes and assisted-living facilities can be upward of $100,000 a year.

"Start the conversation early before you're in a desperate situation," she said. "The truth is my mother wanted to go to assisted living. My mother-in-law, she did not want to do that. These are your loved ones, this will eventually be you in this situation. You have to think about this."

As for Bassett herself, the general consensus in Hollywood is that she simply does not age. She cites staying away from processed foods and sugars and just learning more about what serves her body as she grows and learns over the years.

"More and more water," she said. "And exercise is good for you. A positive mental outlook is good for you, having a spiritual base and being grateful is good for you. Having a purpose in life, that's good for you."