Saturday, November 08, 2008

Adult children need to monitor finances of aging parents, but may lack "authority" to do so

AARP Magazine, for November-December 2008, has a particularly sobering “Money” article “When Your Parents’ Money Is Your Problem,” link here.

The article cites a case where an adult child bought his parent’s car to keep them from driving and paid their moving expenses to get them into assisted living.

The article also mentions a study saying that half of those caring for an elderly loved one (a total of 17 million) spend 10% of their income or more on caregiving expenses. Adult children may be placing their own situations in serious peril, and eldercare problems may explode into the public view as the next shocker for the economy as a whole.

Adult children are in the potential legal bind of becoming legally responsible for supporting their parents (and in a few cases, other relatives) in up to 28 states, according to filial responsibility laws, while lacking the authority or right to be informed about their parents’ situation. This is a serious flaw that should be addressed as a public policy (and public health) problem by the new administration. Neither candidate said very much about eldercare during the campaign. Remember, custodial care is normally not covered by Medicare (are some allowance for short term skilled nursing care or hospice care).

The article gives some practical advice on how to approach parents. Adult children who believe they will be impacted should “take ownership” of the problem and possibly consider having the capability of accepting their parents to move in with them (and having enough space to do so).


A.M.Writer said...


I agree 100%. I am caring for my father who just turned 86. Unfortunately, what savings I had prior to moving in with him a couple of years ago was wiped out due to medical and housing expenses. His main problem, after my mother's dementia worsened Dad went into the equity of the house, and went on a spending spree. Some of it spent upgrading the house, but most of it was just thrown around. He now has a large house payment - a house that had been paid off by my mother.

BTW - love the pictures. Did you take those?

I worked for the USMC in the mid to late 1970's and lived in Alexandria and Arlington. Still miss the area to this day.

Good info on your blog. I added your link to my Elder Care Cafe here on Blogger.


Bill Boushka said...

Thanks. I take all my own pictures -- they are sort of "Days of our Lives in America". They range from the East Coast to Kansas, Lousiana, Florida, New York, etc. Might get to California next year.

It's a good idea for bloggers to take their own pictures, risky to use others without permission. Very inexpensive cameras can take terrific pictures (even single use Kodak and CVS cameras are fine on the road). Visit my main blog for lots of entries about copyright. (See the Blogger profile for the links.)

By the way, I do want to get into film "in retirement". I have some specific ideas as to what I want to do. It's amazing what you can do with little money. (Even ask Michael Moore!)