Friday, May 25, 2012

Care For Aging Parents

This week I read an article out of Boston.  The message was clear, people are living longer and the need for a plan about how to care for elders is increasing.  Especially when the resources are at risk of running out.  The information presented was everything I'd seen before:

  • have aging parents put a will and powers of attorney together;
  • considering long-term care insurance; 
  • determine if the children can and are willing to fund part of the older generations expenses;
  • selling mom's home will cause fights between siblings; and
  • don't wait until a crisis hits to start discussing options.
All of this is true, but what we really need is an article that motivates people 70 and older to take action.  Why?  Because no matter how informed a 65 year old is about the importance of his/her parents doing these things, nothing will happen until the parent acts.  One exception, after crisis arrives, the children can go to court to seek guardianship.

Routinely I get calls from adult children wanting to put their parents affairs in order.  However, unless the parent contacts me, there is nothing I can do from a legal perspective.  In those situations I encourage the children to talk with the parent about taking control of the situation. The parent can make decisions, and they usually know what is best for the family dynamic.  Also, emphasizing that it is less expensive to have a lawyer set up papers in advance as opposed to hire one to put out a fire.  Thrift is a strong motivator for our nation's elders.

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