When Roles are Reversed: Helping Aging Parents

As parents age, their adult children shift into the role of caretakers, making sure their housing, medical, financial and legal needs are being properly handled.

It’s never a happy scenario when an independent parent becomes unable to live on their own and needs their adult children to become involved with their day-to-day life. There are many legal and financial decisions that need to be made, and it becomes an emotionally difficult time for everyone.

For some, that process begins when an adult child and parent decide that she needs to move in with the adult child and his family. In its recent article, “Helping an elderly parent downsize,” The Best of New Orleans reports that a senior’s active lifestyle can often stop with a serious fall requiring hospitalization.

There are also legal issues associated with becoming a parent’s caretaker. It’s important to obtain power of attorney (POA) documents to make an adult child or other trusted person the primary decision maker for a parent’s medical and financial matters.

Those in this type of situation would benefit from calling an estate planning attorney.

Estate planning concerns handling people’s estates after they pass away. Estate planning attorneys work with executors in dealing with the affairs of the deceased and distributing assets to heirs.

A POA states who will act on the person’s behalf, when he or she is incapacitated or simply needs assistance in handling certain affairs. The power of attorney can apply to financial or medical matters (or both). A living will tells your family and the medical staff what your wishes are regarding end-of-life medical issues.

When someone dies, going through their lifetime of belongings is an overwhelming and emotional major task. It’s hard to make progress with items of sentimental value and family heirlooms.

Some families find an estate sale a good way to divest themselves of years of furniture and knick-knacks, while others prefer to distribute possessions among children and grandchildren. An estate sale can bring in some money when budgets are tight, but many families enjoy knowing that paintings, furniture or mom’s best serving platters are still being used at holiday dinners and keeping the memory of a beloved parent alive.

Reference: The Best of New Orleans (October 30, 2017) “Helping an elderly parent downsize.”