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Caring For an Aging Parent

Increased life expectancies have many reconsidering whether the fountain of youth is merely a legend. For many families, longer life spans have allowed them to spend more time with loved ones, time that may not paint the picture imagined.

As you can imagine, the financial cost and responsibility of caring for an aging parent are not the only demands family members must face. Most of the concerns and hardships these caregivers deal with are ways to address the needs of their parents while making sure they still provide them with the necessities. Eldercare creates a complex situation in which traditional roles of parent/child relationships are revealed. You may already be in that position or soon looking at it of being part of the ‘sandwich generation’, providing support for your own children as well that of your parents. Physically as well as financially.

The importance of communication

Thoughtful dialogue on the subject of aging is imperative, yet difficult, especially if your parents’ health is fading. Parents are likely to value any independence they have left and may feel uncomfortable about discussing their financial and legal matters with you. In most cases, their initial discomfort is probably a defense mechanism, as they also struggle with accepting their own mortality. The apprehension you may feel about initiating a conversation on aging is also a normal part of the emotional process.

Post-retirement financial planning

Retirement distributions, the sale of a home or other property may leave your parents with more money than they know how to manage or with cuurent market values, less than what was expected. Not to mention other financial decisions. Strategies to maintain purchasing power due to the effects of inflation, preparing for incapacity and minimizing taxes are all important in the post-retirement planning process. Make sure that your parents receive adequate advice from a qualified financial advisor, estate planning / elder care attorney and CPA. Ideally, your parent’s advisor should be able to provide them with the appropriate references for their situation. There are a numerous of re-sources available.

Almost $80,000 and Counting

That’s the national average annual cost for a private nursing home room according to a well know national survey* In Raleigh, NC for example, according to the survey, it’s around $203 per day. An Assisted Living facility is $3,542 monthly, and Home Care Aide is $17 per hour. If health is fairly good, a parent would generally prefer to stay at home, possibly theirs or yours. Either way the expense or personal time involved can be exhausting. Even with adequate financial funds being available, long term care insurance should be considered to help maintain and retain personal assets that can be used for other personal or family planning purposes.

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