Caring for Parents

Even with the best intentions children's lives may be ruined taking care of parents.

Filial Law States - Children pay for parents care.

Your parents may be like millions of others. Because of their age, or maybe an illness like Alzheimer's, they're no longer able to take care of themselves. Often, they get the help and care they need from a nursing home or some other long-term care facility. It's not cheap, though, and many seniors exhaust their savings paying for the care.

What happens when the money runs out? Out of love, you may feel a moral obligation to help. In some states, however, you may be legally responsible for paying your parents' long-term care.

Filial responsibility laws date back to 17th century English law requiring children to financially support their parents when they couldn't support themselves.

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Elder-Care Costs Deplete Savings of a Generation
By Jane Gross
New York Times

To care for her ailing 97-year-old father over the past three years, Elizabeth Rodriguez, a vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, has borrowed against her 401(k) retirement plan, sold her house on Staten Island and depleted nearly 20 years of savings.

The money has gone to lawyers’ fees ($50,000) to win a contested guardianship. It has gone for home-care equipment like the mattress for his hospital bed (about $3,000 in all) and for a food service to deliver meals ($400 a month).

It has gone for a two-bedroom rental apartment big enough for herself, her dad and a home aide ($1,600 a month more than a one-bedroom apartment in the same building), and for a wheelchair-accessible van to get him to doctors’ appointments ($330 a trip).
Asked to tally the costs, Ms. Rodriguez, 58, said she had no idea how much she was spending. “A shower chair, body cream with no alcohol, new shoes,” she said. “You don’t stop and calculate. You just buy what you have to buy.”

To read the complete article go to NY Times

Expect to Care for Your Parents? Plan Early
By Sarah Baldauf
US News & World Report

When adult children are faced with a parent's sudden health crisis and must make decisions about ongoing care and living arrangements, the need to act quickly can take an emotional toll on the whole family. Alexis Abramson, author of The Caregiver's Survival Handbook: How to Care for Your Aging Parent Without Losing Yourself and vice president of research at Retirement Living TV, talks with U.S. News about the importance of long-range planning, and of keeping your parents in the loop—and their wishes top-of-mind—as they become more dependent.

You warn adult children against sweeping in and taking over for their parents. What's the danger?
When you lose your independence and you begin to have to be dependent on someone else, the emotions about the losses involved become very strong. That's why so many mature adults become depressed and can become angry. We can avoid some of this by respecting how they feel and what they're thinking. Rather than just make decisions on behalf of our parents, we can help them make decisions.

You argue that the decision-making should begin long before anything actually starts to change. What's the advantage?
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of planning. Let's say Monday they're fine, and Tuesday they have a stroke, but you have no idea what their preferences would be—to bring in a home healthcare worker or to move them into an assisted living situation, for example. You need to know what their wishes are. It can be very expensive to have to solve a crisis, which often is what happens when a caregiver doesn't plan. If you want to decrease your financial investment in caregiving, increase the emotional comfort level between you and your parent, and allow your parent to age as gracefully as possible, start talking.

To read the complete article go to US News & World Report.

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