As you age, an unsettling phenomenon may unfold: the dynamic of the parent-child relationship undergoes a role reversal. As your parents enter their “Golden Years,” you might discover yourself stepping into the role of caretaker and supporting your parents as they face increased vulnerability and a reduced capacity to navigate life independently. If so, the Los Angeles attorneys at Schomer Law Group, APC offer tips to help you manage the affairs of your aging parents.
The “Sandwich Generation”
Most people have heard the term “sandwich generation” by now. It refers to people, usually in their 30s or 40s, who are raising their own children while simultaneously caring for aging parents. As the older population in the United States continues to grow at a historic rate, more and more people find themselves part of the sandwich generation. Then there are people who have recently entered their own retirement years, only to find that they need to care for parents who are living into their 80s and 90s. In fact, a recent survey found that approximately two out of every three adults offer some form of care to their elderly parents. Over half of those who provide care to aging parents provide financial assistance. Even those who do not directly provide financial assistance often find themselves managing the finances of their aging parents.
Tips for Adults Managing the Affairs of Their Aging Parents
If you find yourself responsible for managing the affairs of your aging parents on top of raising your own family, working a regular job, or going through the changes that come along with retirement, you may be feeling overwhelmed. The following tips can help you avoid making mistakes and to help reduce the stress you are experiencing:
- Do not wait too long to act. While it can be difficult to admit that your parents are experienced the physical and/or cognitive decline that comes with aging, it is imperative that you acknowledge what is happening sooner rather than later. If you refuse to face reality it increases the risk that your parents could be injured or victimized. When you need to intervene, do not hesitate to do so.
- Engage in difficult conversations. Just as it is difficult to admit that your parents are suffering a decline in their mental acuity, it can be equally tough to sit down and have a frank discussion about the situation. It is crucial that you have these conversations though so that you can discuss essential estate planning documents, such as a Will, advance directives, and a Power of Attorney, while your parents still have the mental capacity to legally make decisions and execute documents.
- Seek help. Do not hesitate to seek help from family, friends, support groups, or professionals. Make a point of consulting with an estate planning attorney, financial advisor, and/or spiritual advisor, and ask for support and assistance early and often.
- Take away the keys. As an adult child, you undoubtedly hesitate to take away the car keys from your parents because the ability to drive symbolizes independence for your parents. Nevertheless, you need to admit when it is no longer safe for a parent to be behind the wheel to avoid your parents or others on the roadway being seriously injured or killed.
- Plan for long-term care. As of 2022, long-term care costs averaged around $100,000 per year throughout the nation. Since neither Medicare nor most health insurance policies will cover LTC, it is essential to have a plan in place. Consult with an estate planning attorney to explore options like Medicaid planning to ensure financial coverage for potential long-term care needs.
- Anticipate potential legal challenges. At some point, you may need the authority to remove a parent from a care facility or make serious end-of-life decisions. To ensure that you have the authority necessary when the time comes, talk to your estate planning attorney about what documents need to be executed now.
Do Need Help Managing the Affairs of Aging Parents?
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions ways to help you take care of your aging parents, contact the experienced Los Angeles estate planning attorneys at Schomer Law Group APCby calling (310) 337-7696 to schedule an appointment.
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