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7 Ways to Provide Financial Support for Aging Parents

by Anu Sarma on June 18, 2015 Comments Off on 7 Ways to Provide Financial Support for Aging Parents

Ask most adults if they are prepared for the financial consequences of their parents getting older, and they will say no. The need to support ageing parents financially is not an issue that is discussed by many people. And when people do discuss it, the details often get lost. Do you know how you are going to support your parents as they age and need care? Have you worked out how much it could cost, and where you are going to get the money? If not, the time to start thinking about it is now. If your parents are not wealthy then the cost of care will fall to you, and without adequate funds your parents may end up on Medicaid, in a shared room in an assisted living facility – or you could take on the high personal burden of care yourself.

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With a little forward planning and sound financial management you can reduce the burden of high costs for senior care. Here are seven tips for supporting your parents financially as they get older.

1. Work out what it costs to financially support your aging parents and what it would also cost in terms of your wellbeing and personal life if you had to provide the care for your parents yourself. Studies like the Genworth Cost of Care Survey show roughly what you can expect to pay in different states for different levels of care facility. You can also check the cost of providing live-in helpers, or carers that do not fully support the parent but will provide support like cleaning or grocery shopping. Knowing exactly what you are faced with will help focus your financial planning.

2. Look ahead and figure out the number of years you may need to provide financial support. Of course, it is hard to predict what needs a person will have in the future and what you will need to pay. But you could figure out a general idea of the time you may be paying and what you need to pay. Even if a parent is financially well off, how long will the money last – what happens when an aging parent runs out of money?

3. Consider long term care insurance. If you can afford it, have your parents take out this insurance as early on as possible, or you can pay for it before there are any problems of medical diagnoses that will make it impossible to insure your parent.

4. Educate yourself and work out what you need to set aside each month to pay for insurance, or to save in order to spend later on senior care.

5. Talk to your parents about financial issues. Even if they are not comfortable discussing things like this, insist on the conversation so that you can work out exactly what money they have and what you will need to provide. Talk to your parents about their views on aging and where they want to live when they can no longer take care of themselves. Make the conversation about you – focus on your need to manage your estate planning or your finances – and less on them, so they don’t feel threatened or anxious.

6. Look into care possibilities and the most appropriate forms of support. Even if you do not need it now it helps to understand what the options are and to be able to plan appropriately. For example, at the very least there are local transportation services that help aging parents get around, and adult daycare facilities out of the home plus daytime health service programs – the cost of these out of home services is considerably less than a live-in carer and it can work out as highly affordable. For less independent parents there is the possibility of in-home care. Or look at the range of assisted living facilities.

7. Look at lowering expenses for your parents including switching utilities, or having some “free” from the church come visit your parent for a while if they suffer from loneliness or isolation.

Smart planning now will remove the possibility of shock and distress further down the line. If you work together to discuss their needs and their assets you can prepare your family for the financial realities of getting older.

Anu Sarma7 Ways to Provide Financial Support for Aging Parents

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