With the oldest millennials now over 40, many are now beginning to consider what life will be like as their parents age and perhaps need their help when it comes to care. While plenty of senior citizens live active lives throughout their 60s and beyond, others may begin to struggle with their health and finances. When should you intervene with your parents’ lives? Are you legally responsible for supporting your elderly parents? How can you help your aging parents maintain independence without jeopardizing their safety? This guide will help you navigate this new landscape while prioritizing happiness and peace for everyone involved. While your relationship dynamic may change as you and your parents grow older, you can still find new ground to bond over and even grow closer through this period.
Understand the Difference Between Need and Want
You may think you know what’s best for your parents, but that isn’t always the case. You’ve grown up in dramatically different cultural environments, so your perspectives on life in later adulthood will also run on separate paths. Recognize that although you may want your parents to live a certain way, they don’t necessarily have to do so to be okay. What matters most is prioritizing their safety and health. Anything else is personal and, at times, not necessarily up for negotiation. The best way to strike a balance here is to voice your concerns in a loving way. Avoid assuming an authoritarian attitude as this will likely only increase resistance. If your parents are losing independence because of mobility impairments or declining health, they deserve the respect to make decisions with dignity.
Learn About Filial Laws
States have filial laws in place to protect the elderly. Depending on where you live, you may have to provide financial support if your aging parents are unable to provide for themselves. In some states, adult children are responsible for covering their parents’ unpaid medical bills or nursing home expenses. This is not always the default course of action, however. Social Security payments and welfare programs, like Medicaid, exist for a reason. Make sure that you understand any potential liability you face in your respective state. You can utilize an online guide can help you learn about filial responsibility and its legal implications where you live.
You can care for an elderly parent by working with them to secure healthcare and housing. For starters, talk to them about their needs and how their budget may change when they enter retirement. Help them sign up for Medicare and make any changes to their finances if they need it. Working together is the best way to preserve your relationship and prevent any unnecessary discourse. If you feel like finances are still too personal to touch upon, consider telling your parents to reach out to a financial advisor. Also, make sure you work with other members of the family to stay involved in your parents’ lives. In addition to their financial security, everyone should be on the same page when it comes to their mental health and physical well-being.