Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Dear Abby" takes on challenge of eldercare for adult children

Dear Abby yesterday (Dec. 15, 2009) published a syndicated column on eldercare, with many responses, in apparent followup to an earlier letter “Afraid for the Future in San Antonio” that had been published Oct. 25. Apparently her syndicated columns melt away online (I can’t find the Oct. 25 original anywhere; if someone can find a link, please let me know), so all I could find was the set of responses yesterday. The Washington Times published it on p D10, but there are dozens of copies online, such as here at the Philadelphia Inquirer. The letter writer says “people are living longer and prolonging life by any means, so the problem of long-term care and the financial and emotional burdens placed on adult children are very real.”

One could say it’s just payback, or intrinsic family responsibility. In practice, adult children should sit down with their parents and plan for care years before they need it. This is particularly true for childless adult children. The best strategy for many families may be gradual downsizing, encouraging the parent, while well and active to move into a modern, secure urban community for active senior adults, where help will be available later if needed.

The column certainly fits into the warning of the “Dr. David” column, discussed yesterday, and also recently run in The Washington Times.

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