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April 9, 2019

How to Support Your Aging Parents Financially

We can never thank our parents enough for everything they’ve done for us: took care of us, educated us, tried to show us the world in a safe way, etc. They are the reason we grew up to become who we are today, and we owe them our gratitude. As we age so do they, but getting older isn’t always fun or easy. When retired, they won’t have as much money as before, but you can help them get back on their feet financially with some good planning.

Making plans

Nobody likes to think about the bad sides that the future brings, the elderly even less so than the younger people, but even though the task is far from pleasant, it should still be done. One of the sad facts is that the older our parents become, the less capable they will be to keep up with the lifestyle they’ve gotten used to. In a legal sense, this means that you should be allowed to manage their finances and make important decisions concerning their health. Making plans for the future should involve important legal documentsne which would allow you to act on your parents’ behalf if their health starts deteriorating rapidly or something unexpected happens.

Helpful facilities

What starts off as an occasional trip to see your parents and mow their lawn can quite quickly turn into a full-time commitment. Sadly, we don’t always have the time or the means to be there for them at all times and help them out as well as we should. On the other hand, we can do the next best thing and ensure that there’s always someone there to do the things they can’t do on their own. Caregivers can assist them with daily living and simpler tasks, but if your parents require more than that, you should consider a specialized facility for retirement living. Such places can accommodate and take good care of your parents, as there are caregivers who can assist them with everything they need help with, from preparing meals and feeding to giving medication and injections.

Talk to each other

Any and every important decision involving your parents should be made after you’ve had an open and honest talk with each other. Communication is the key to making important decisions, and the elderly are known for their stubbornness and refusal to change their mind. Patience is the key here, and what you should do is patiently talk to your parents and go through the current situation. Give them time to understand your point of view and your situation, as it isn’t always easy for them to do so. Give them time to adjust to the fact that they’re getting old but don’t force or rush them to make decisions. If you communicate openly, you will be able to create good financial plans for the future.

Know your limits

Helping your parents out isn’t always about doing errands for them and keeping them company, as sometimes the elderly can struggle financially. Stepping in from time to time is a good thing, but in the long run, it can hurt your finances too. Setting aside a small percentage each month for a ‘fund for the parents’ won’t damage your budget but will help you tremendously in the long run. Work with a financial planner to see what income you can spare for this purpose, but don’t try to set aside too much or you’ll end up damaging your own finances.

As they age, our parents show us the future: they show us what it’s like to retire, all the ways you can change your life for the better, but they also show us the downsides of aging: the frailty of the body and financial struggles. Being there for your parents is important because they have been there for you too, and if you make a good plan, you can help them financially and make their lives much better.

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Carolin Petterson  |  Contribution: 865