Older parents may need their time because they don’t have money
I wrote last week about having a difficult conversation with her “first degree” relatives about her genetics. Knowing the health conditions of your family members will help financial planning because it gives you important information about your future health and your health expenses.
There is another reason why you want to know the genetics of your parents and siblings and whether they have had or have cardiovascular disease or diabetes. You may want to prepare for the inevitability of family members needing your time or money to maintain your care.
Intergenerational care networks are real
Your parents probably don’t have enough money to care for themselves if they have dementia. by 2030 73 million people be over 65 years of age and most are not financially prepared for retirement That fact means almost as many adult children may have to help. Knowing your elderly relative’s health history, especially about the risks of physical and mental decline, can help you predict future pressures of time and money. cognitive decline is strongly heritableso knowing the cognitive health of your grandparents can help predict the future needs of your parents.
It’s hard to talk to your parents about money. Wells Fargo/Ipsos Survey reveals that 42 percent of people would ask their parents about funerals than finances. But intergenerational caregiving networks and obligations are real and should come as no surprise.
Another benefit of the conversation is that talking to older parents about their financial situation can help normalize conversations about money, and normalization can reduce shame, the psychological state that can drive difficult problems underground making solving them even more difficult.
Your older relatives may need you and they know it and may not want to talk about it. In the U.S, 30% of adults with an elderly parent alive says your parent or parents need help managing their affairs or taking care of themselves. A daughter-in-law or daughter-in-law is more likely quit paid work -an average of 77 hours a month– to help a father or father-in-law. And if the family is low-income, the adult child is likely to take on personal care, which is probably even harder to ask for.
We all face risks of a poor health outcome or a family member needing help. We all need insurance against those risks. Many problems that appear to be individual and private problems are actually collective and social problems.
Legislation needed for adult children to care for family members
Legislation requiring access to flexible work hours, time off, or Paid vacations to accommodate the care of an elderly relative can help facilitate interconnected family care. Expanding Medicare to include long-term care and allowing private insurance to lower the cost of insulin and make testing widely accessible are necessary companions to private efforts to insure against hereditary risks and the web of responsibilities between families.
Be careful with those conversations, but they are necessary!