Financial support for aging parents

If you find yourself looking down the road and seeing this looming issue, consider the following 10 tips for handling your aging parent support issues wisely.
1. Ask your aging parents about their financial future. How much money is left? What does it cost to live each month? Have they considered whether to sell the home? Make plans.
2. Seek an array of professional advice. Input from an estate planning attorney, elder law attorney, tax advisor, and financial planner can save everyone from unnecessary losses. Get advice before making decisions.
3. Be honest with yourself about your willingness to help. Old hurts, past resentments and unresolved disputes can get in the way of good planning. It may be time to work things out so that your parents’ last years can be the best quality that is available to them with existing resources.
4. Have a family meeting. If siblings, in-laws and grandchildren are involved, it’s time to see this as a family issue. Everyone’s input can be valuable in deciding what to do. If you don’t know where to start with a family meeting, enlist the help of a professional elder care advisor, elder law attorney with this expertise, or geriatric care manager.
5. Forgiveness can uplift you. If your parent was not a good parent, and is now in financial trouble, examine your own resources to give financial help. For some, it is beyond their capacity. For the rest, you can get beyond the past and do what seems like the right thing. Focus on the present, not the past.
6. Consider all the long term consequences of taking in your aging parent to your own home. Yes, it can solve many financial as well as care issues, but it is a complex matter. it works well for some and can be disastrous for others. Talk it out, establish the ground rules and involve the entire family when possible.
7. Everyone may have to make sacrifices. Many families who are on a budget find ways to work this out. It is unwise to give too much of what you need for yourself to your parent without insisting that your parent respect necessary limits too. Set the limits yourself and stick to them. If you are paying for support, it’s fair for you to make the rules.
8. Deal with reckless spending parents realistically. If their refusal to use self-discipline with money means that they will lose a home, have to go to a nursing home, or have to apply for Medicaid, it may be the consequence you can’t prevent. It does happen.
9. Work on your difficult choices with a financial advisor. If you have to use your savings, your retirement plan, or other means set aside for your own needs to help an aging parent, the long term consequences can directly affect your life a few years from now. Learn as much as you can about best strategy.
10. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to an aging parent whose demands on you seem unfair. The choices about what to do for an aging parent are very individual. No law says you have to be kind or charitable. It is a matter of conscience.
Millions of baby boomers are currently providing care and/or financial support to their aging loved ones. Some quit jobs, cut back on hours or otherwise deprive themselves of benefits, salary or retirement to help.

Read more: How to Prepare a Family for the End of a Life |

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