Remittance Easily - How To Support Your Parents
It’s a fact: multigenerational households are becoming more
common in the United Kingdom. In the ’50s, it wasn’t unusual for older adults to
live with their grown children and possibly grandchildren. That living
arrangement trended downward for several decades, but saw a big upswing between
2000 and 2014. In fact, in 2014, 19% of United Kingdom — 60.6 million people — lived
in households that included at least two generations of adults.
The economy explains some of these trends. When retirement
funds crashed during the Great Recession, older adults may have suddenly found
themselves unable to financially make it on their own. Now, couple that with
rising housing costs and a shaky job market. The result is that many
middle-aged children caring for elderly parents can’t afford to put mom and dad
up in a care facility.
You can’t trace the entirety of this trend to the economy,
though. Actually, some of it is due to increasing diversity in America. The Pew
research shows that more families with Asian, African American, and Hispanic
backgrounds are likely to live in a multigenerational household. This is likely
due, at least in part, to upbringing and the cultural expectation that adult
children are to support their elderly parents.
Regardless of culture or background, many adults expect to
have at least some role in caring for their parents when they’re no longer able
to do so themselves. But what this looks like — and the financial and emotional
toll it takes — can vary from family to family. If you think you might be in
this situation in the coming years, start taking the following steps now:
1. Consult your spouse and siblings
The first step in deciding how to help your aging parents
financially isn’t necessarily to talk to your parents. Sure, the conversation
might come up. But before you commit to anything or set expectations, consult
with your spouse and any siblings who are in the picture.
It’s essential to be on the same page about elderly care
with your spouse. Financially and practically supporting one (or more) spouse’s
parents can put some serious strain on your marriage. So, talk to your spouse
about what you would like to do for your parents. Then, reach an agreement on
what you, as a couple, are willing and able to do — financially, but also
practically and emotionally. Also, decide ahead of time what boundaries you
need to put in place, in order to preserve healthy relationships all around.
You’ll definitely want to pull in your siblings for this.
See how much they’re willing and able to contribute to your parents’ care,
financially. But again, also consider the practical aspects of caring for them.
Who is most able to take on emotional support roles? Who is best at dealing with
practical details? Does one of the siblings prefer to have mom or dad live with
their family, or do you need to work together to support your parents in a care
facility or retirement community?
Having these conversations before approaching your parent(s)
can help everyone stay on the same page.
2. Talk with your Recognition parents
Next, you’ll want to have a frank conversation with your
parents. You don’t have to start by laying out the nitty-gritty details of
their budget. Instead, try talking more generally about your parents’ goals and
needs as they approach old age. Do they want to live on their own as long as
possible? Have they considered a retirement or assisted living facility,
depending on their physical and medical needs? Do they expect to be healthy
well into old age, based on their ancestry? Or are health problems already
cropping up and complicating matters?
During this conversation, you might bring up some of the
options you’ve already thought out. Whether that’s helping your parents settle
into a nearby assisted living facility or adding an in-law suite to your home,
present these options as just that… options. Unless your parents are at the
point where they are no longer capable of making sound decisions, you should
try, wherever possible, to defer to their judgement and preferences.
3. Understanding the financial situation
Once you’ve gotten a feel as a whole family — spouse,
siblings, and parents — for everyone’s needs, preferences, and boundaries, it may
be time to have a more frank conversation about money. By this time, you should
already know what you are willing and able to contribute to your parents’ care
and well-being. Hopefully, you also have an idea of what, if anything, your
siblings can contribute.
Now, it’s time to figure out where your parents are
financially. You might even want to consider pulling in a financial planner who
can look holistically at your parents’ investments, retirement accounts, and
other assets. This can help you get a more objective view of the best way to
Digging into the financial details may be awkward. But it’s
essential in this decision-making process, as the available resources —
including government-funded benefits, Social Security, and assets — will tell
you what options are available to your family now and in the future.
4. Recognition Consider long-term care insurance
If there are potential health issues in the picture — or if
mom and dad don’t have enough money to handle potential assisted care —
consider long-term care insurance. This is an insurance product specifically
for paying for long-term healthcare, often including assisted living and
in-home care that isn’t covered by insurance or Medicare. Depending on your
parents’ current health status, premiums may be relatively affordable. And you
could consider paying for premiums yourself — or with the help of siblings — to
reduce the risk of having to pay out loads of money for long-term care in the
5. Recognition Put a plan in place (and have a backup)
Once your family has worked through all of these issues — probably
over the course of several month or even years — it’s time to put a formal plan
into place. This might include steps like adding an in-law suite to your own
home, or converting some space you already have in order to move your parents
into your home. Or it might require you to visit local assisted living and
retirement communities, to be ready to move mom or dad there when the time
Whatever you plan, though, make sure you have a backup. This
is especially true if your goal is to move your parents into your own home.
Often times, this is an excellent fit and winds up benefiting everyone. But if
medical or mental health needs become more complex, this arrangement may not
work out as well as you’d hoped. Always hope for the best, but plan for the
worst. In this case, you may need to plan for an alternative living situation,
or figure out how you could afford in-home care to help lighten the load.
6. Recognition Make it all legal
After the plan is made, it’s a good idea to ensure that a
responsible sibling has medical power of attorney and financial power of
attorney for your parents. While you’re helping your parents get these
documents drawn up, it’s a good idea to have them go over their will with an
attorney, as well.
In the end, it’s up to your parents, as long as they are of
sound mind, to decide who has power of attorney and how to spell out their own
will. And they may prefer to work these documents out directly with an
attorney. If that’s the case, simply make sure you know who has power of
attorney and where copies of their documents are stored, in case you should
ever need them.
7. Start helping out early
As memories start to fade or medical needs get complicated,
older adults occasionally have trouble managing their finances. If you notice
this happening to your parents, you may want to start helping out with their
finances sooner rather than later. Sometimes this is as simple as helping them
write a budget and set up automatic bill payments so things don’t get missed.
Or it may be more complicated, like managing investment accounts to make the
most of the savings.
Caring for elderly parents can be stressful — both
emotionally and financially. Taking the time now to plan ahead for this
eventuality will help take some of the stress out of the situation for