The following edition of TGIF 2 Minutes originally appeared in January 2017. But due to popular demand and recent inquiries on this critical subject I am re-running it:

Grandma moving in?? Traveling to help Mom and Dad from time to time? Sharing tasks with your siblings to help out your parents?

“Caring for Aging Parents” is an emotional and involved topic that takes FAR longer than 2 minutes to cover. However, it is a critical topic and one that comes up daily in my conversations with friends and clients. Think about it: how many times have you been part of this conversation in the past several months alone… among friends/family?? I bet more than once!

Here are several high level questions and considerations…with more to come in future editions of “TGIF 2 minutes”.

·     Are your parents still living? Both parents or just one? What is their age?

·     How healthy are your parents? (This could take a while to answer.)

·     Do you know what medications they take (if any)?

·     Do you know what doctors they see? Do they have annual physicals?

·     Are you even privy to any of these details? Do you care?

·     Do your parents still work? (People are working well into their late 60’s and early 70’s these days…just to stay busy in some cases!)

·     Where do your parents live? Close by? Or in another state?

·     How close is your relationship to your parents? (Another loaded question.)

·     How often do you see your parents?

·     Do you have brothers and sisters? If yes, which sibling/siblings have the closest relationship to your parents?

If your parents are still living, ALL of the answers to the above questions will matter at some point down the line — if not to you they will matter to someone. 

Now the more complicated stuff.

– If your parents are aging and have health issues, have they talked with you about how they manage their healthcare? How much are they paying? HOW are they paying? (Medicare? Private insurance?)  Former employers rarely pay pensions these days AND are pulling back generous “lifetime” healthcare benefits.

– If your parents have an urgent issue (take a fall, have a stroke/heart attack, get very sick) are they on their own to manage that? Would a family member be required to assist? Is it YOU who would be required to assist?

When your parents get to the point of not being able to take care of themselves, what happens next? Nursing home? Are they willing to move? Home care nurse? Long-term care? Move in with YOU or a family member?

– How will your parents pay for these services?  Are you aware that it can be upwards of $70,000-$100,000+ PER YEAR for lots of nursing home and home care services, in today’s dollars?

In looking at newly built homes in several parts of the country, there is a growing trend toward not one but TWO bedrooms on the ground floor: one for the owners of the house AND one for an aging parent who may move in someday. This phenomenon is affecting the resale value of the house. Long-term care is prohibitively expensive so people are taking matters into their own hands…and taking on the stress that comes along with them.

These are real-world issues that are not solved in the midst of a healthcare emergency. Planning and budgeting for the future — for your parents and yourself — are necessary. I look forward to your questions and comments. More to come…to make “TGIF” a reality and not just a saying.

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