Should Children Take Care of Their Elderly Parents?

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Since before we can remember, our parents have cared for many of us, providing necessities like food, housing, and possibly even an education. As we get older, so do our parents. After a certain point, the roles reverse, and our parents are the ones who need our help and provision.

Do you wonder if taking care of your parents when they are old is your responsibility?

Who is responsible for taking care of elderly parents if you don’t?

What if siblings won’t help with aging parents?

In this article, we discuss if you are legally responsible for your elderly parents and how to relieve the burden of taking care of your parents by yourself.

Who Should Look After the Elderly?

You might be the oldest child and feel a duty of care to elderly parents. But how are you supposed to take care of aging parents with an already overbooked schedule? Plus, you aren’t sure what to do when siblings won’t help with aging parents.

Everyone should be pitching in, right?

Unfortunately, not all family members feel the duty of care to elderly parents like you do. Sibling rivalry might be a factor in your situation, but this is not the time to bicker.

You don’t want your parents to feel abandoned by adult children they raised, but you’re running out of time and resources. Here are a few common questions and answers about who is responsible for taking care of elderly parents.

  • Should children take care of their elderly parents?

Not necessarily. Many children of elderly adults don’t live near their parents, so it’s not always feasible to be a family caregiver. Other children of aging adults do assume the personal responsibility of caring for parents. 

However, everyone has varying relationships with their parents. Like any relationship, boundaries are essential, and sometimes caring for your elderly parent is not in either of your best interests. 

A financial strain may also play a part in your inability to care for them, so the answer is not always clear-cut.

  • Can I be forced to care for my elderly parents?

In the U.S., requiring that children care for their elderly parents is a state by state issue. Some states mandate that financially able children support impoverished parents or just specific healthcare needs. Other states don’t require an obligation from the children of older adults.

Currently, 27 states have filial responsibility laws. However, in Wisconsin, children are not legally liable for their elderly parents’ care.

  • What to do with aging parents who have no money?

Financial instability is not uncommon, especially for elderly adults who can’t work anymore. With adults living longer and longer, outliving your retirement account by the time you’re your parents’ age is very possible.

Here are some tips for adult children who don’t know what to do with aging parents who have no money:

  • Prepare for a hard conversation. Addressing money is a sensitive topic to talk about in general, no matter your age. Before sitting down with your parents or family members, prepare for the conversation. Consider reading a book like Mom And Dad – We Need To Talk by Cameron Huddleston, designed for people at all income levels.
  • Sit down and have a family meeting. Review your parent’s finances at a family meeting, not to be critical, but to develop a plan of action moving forward. Talk about their debt and the estimated time their savings will run out. Consider including a neutral third-party with expertise in facilitating complicated family discussions, such as a care manager.
  • Sell, and downsize. If your parent lives alone, selling their home may be a difficult but necessary next step. If they still want to retain some independence, you can consider moving your elderly parent into a smaller space if their health allows it.
  • Bring in a professional. Once you’ve had a family meeting to discuss the gravity of the situation or possibly even before, contact a financial advisor. A professional will provide an unbiased voice to the conversation, which can help prevent unnecessary family conflict.

How to Remove The Burden of Taking Care of Parents

The person who is responsible for taking care of elderly parents doesn’t have to be you.

Stowell Associates can help remove the burden of taking care of parents all by yourself. Even if some of your siblings do help, chances are, the needs of your aging parents will continue to grow. We relieve the stress of family caregiving by providing premium home care by professional caregivers and care managers.

In-home personal care by a Stowell caregiver supports aging adults with daily needs such as feeding, bathing, laundry, and even grocery shopping. Our dedicated caregivers help your loved one retain their independence by enabling them to age in place.

Our expert care managers collaborate with family members to develop a whole-person care plan for their loved ones. Care managers can answer any questions you have about home care and provide an extra layer of support to your family.

If you’re struggling to find time in your busy day to care well for your aging mother or father, or the weight of caregiving is too much, we’re here to help. You don’t need to feel guilty about reaching out for help. Caregiving is no small task, it’s truly a demanding vocation, but our care team lives to serve families like yours.

Contact Stowell Associates today to learn more about in-home care for your aging parents.

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