Wednesday, September 08, 2010

"CNN Money" article talks about eldercare and "sacrifice"

CNN and Yahoo! Finance both ran a story from Money Magazine by MP Dunleavey, “4 Tips for Caring for Mom and Dad”, with a subtitle byline that certainly catches the eye: “Sacrificing to care for mom and dad”. The article has a graphic that says 48% used vacation hours to care for loved one, 38% stopped saving for the future, and 17% took on additional jobs or worked more hours. Presumably their parents did not have enough assets or had been able to prepare for old age themselves. But even with considerable assets, short and long distance caregiving can present many challenges.

The link for the story is here.

The article goes on to make some practical suggestions for long-distance caregiving, which often includes hiring a geriatric care manager (discussed here June 15). That could put the adult child in the position of having to “take orders” from the care manager. The articles also discusses setting up the necessary powers of attorney. Another instrument is the living trust. The adult children need to know what assets the parent has in a safe deposit box.

I cringe a bit when I see the word “sacrifice”, because (regardless of one’ faith-based interpretation) in the foreseeable future the word means just that. The person who sacrifices becomes, in some sense of his or her own reality, less than he or she was; this observation is almost tautological. Adult children should think very carefully about options. For the childless, moving back in may psychologically not be a good idea; the adult child may have more sense of control if the caregiving happens in his place. I think that Continuing Care Resource Communities are a promising idea and that market and demographic conditions will encourage investors to build many more of them, especially away from the Sun Belt in original communities.

The noun ("sacrifice") was discussed a lot in the eldercare class at a Sunday School of a local Arlington VA church (Trinity Presbyterian) in the fall of 2008.

No comments: