Family Togetherness Helps In Caring For Aging Parents
It can happen gradually or overnight, but sooner or later most adult children must coordinate care for one or both parents, a situation that puts tremendous strain on sibling relationships. The best outcomes come when family conversations are held well in advance, ideally by the time parents are in their early 70s. Without a plan, the burden often falls on the sibling (typically a daughter), who lives closest to the parent, creating enormous stress for her, coupled with resentment toward her siblings.
Many families plan for medical needs, but forget about the day-to-day tasks like transportation; shopping and personal care appointments; home maintenance; and managing finances – too much for one sibling to handle on her own. Thanks to technology and a growing industry of professionals dedicated to helping with older adults, it is easier for out-of-town or working adult children to share the burden. The sibling with a more flexible schedule might be the best suited to visit the parent or check on hired providers, while others can do research, coordinate care and handle insurance and finances online. Siblings who are not able to provide in-person support might also consider contributing financially so additional in-person support may be hired.
Before a parent’s mental capacity diminishes, make sure that financial power of attorney (POA) and advanced medical directives (AMD) are in place. A financial POA executed by the parent gives one or more people the power to conduct financial transactions and legal business on their behalf. Multiple siblings can be listed in the POA but unless there are extenuating circumstances, it is best to structure the POA so that only one sibling’s signature is required for a transaction. You can find a template for a Maryland Statutory Financial POA here: oag. state.md.us/Courts/17-202.pdf.
Advanced medical directives help to avoid conflict among siblings when it comes to making difficult decisions regarding a parent’s care. An AMD will authorize an agent to make medical decisions on behalf of the parent and will also detail the parent’s wishes for treatment and end of life decisions, thus removing the burden from adult children while easing tensions between siblings who may disagree. You can find information and a template to create a Maryland Advanced Directive here: oag.state. md.us/Healthpol/AdvanceDirectives.htm.
While never easy, with advanced planning and solidarity, caring for an aging parent can bring families and siblings together. Here are some suggestions.
Lyn Dippel, JD, CFP®, President of FAI Wealth Management, provides financial planning and investment management for transitions such as retirement, career changes, sale of a business, relocation and inheritance.*
This article originally written for the Her Mind, Her Money Column.
IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION
Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by FAI Wealth Management), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from FAI Wealth Management. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. FAI Wealth Management is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of FAI Wealth Management's current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.