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).