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Two Sides of Elder Care

Aging is inevitable; the costs of extended care continue to rise and planning for the costs associated with late-in-life dependency on others is difficult for most people to tackle. And collectively, we dread long-term care and end of life discussions because they highlight our mortality. But, these eventualities and costs are very real and one group finding them especially relevant is adult children with aging parents.

According to the MetLife Mature Market Institute, close to 10 million adult children in America are caring for aging parents or contributing to the cost of long-term care which can average upwards of $3,500 a month.

Money talks are very important when discussing elder care for parents however, creating a solid plan begins with designating a “power of attorney”. With this document, the adult child appointed as POA has the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of their loved one should the parent(s) be unable to as a result of memory loss or illness. If the conversation is avoided and children are without decision making authority, guardianship court enters the picture along with lawyers, doctors and unnecessarily spending more time and money.

Twenty years ago, gauging how to afford care for an elderly parent might not have been the focus of a baby boomer. Today, however, boomers parents are living much longer, well into their 80’s and beyond, and the possibility is, at age 86 the parents have exhausted their savings and the cost of care falls to you and your spouse or possibly your siblings. 

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