Parents and Kids Switching Roles as Nation Ages

Dandy-lion-1404440“As a nation, we are aging rapidly. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, America’s 65-and-over population is projected to nearly double to 88 million by 2050.”

In many U.S. families, children and parents are going to be switching roles. As parents age, they’re becoming their own kids’ children in many ways, requiring time and care, as well as sometimes creating a financial burden, says Fox Business in the recent article, “Aging parents are the new ‘children.’”

One concern is that aging parents may lose their mental abilities. The Alzheimer’s Association says that every 65 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops the disease. It’s now the sixth-leading cause of death. This can create additional long-term care needs for parents and result in an emotional and financial burden on adult children.

Parents with physical limitations may have difficulties living independently. Therefore, you should understand your parents’ long-term plans and how they will impact you. Let’s examine some of the things you can do, as your parents go through the aging cycle.

Family Conversations. While talking to your parents about these topics now may be uncomfortable, it will save you a lot of stress, time and money in the future. Parents who want to preserve autonomy should express their wishes. Parents should discuss their healthcare wishes, the what ifs and finances now to discover what options they may have for care. It’s important that adult children understand details of their parents’ financial situations, before they’re unable to communicate due to incapacity or death.

Get the Family Affairs in Order. Create a system to help with gathering information. This should include medical histories and estate plans. Start to organize information with your parents as early as possible. Adult children should be sure that their parents have a will, a trust (or both), a durable power of attorney for property and a durable power of attorney for healthcare.

Determine Parents’ Long-Term Financial Needs. It’s extremely expensive to provide care for aging parents. Seek professional guidance to determine how much of your parent’s savings is currently allocated to pay for healthcare in retirement, not covered by Medicare. Look at long-term care insurance.

Be Involved. As parents age, look for signs of anything that might be amiss. If you aren’t near your parents physically, or perhaps need additional assistance, you may want to get someone to help you with the care management of your parents. An aging-care support person can go with your parent(s) to doctors’ visits, act as liaisons with care facilities and provide you with regular reports.

Reference: Fox Business (May 25, 2018) “Aging parents are the new ‘children’”