Will you be ready are you prepared?
Aging parents are a difficult problem many people of the current generation are beginning to encounter. While parents are typically wise and capable of caring for themselves, more and more, people are finding that extremely sick, or the elderly that otherwise require special care, are becoming a burden not just on society, but also on the families they come from. It is difficult enough to watch as a parent ages and dies, but to do so under constant financial burden caused by poor planning or extreme circumstances is particularly difficult for both the family and society. Difficult choices must be, and are, made every day. Choices about life and death, and the worth of a life are not choices that should have to be made by a family. These discussions are not necessary, if the older generation simply prepares for their retirement.
The baby boom generation has now aged and had children, but not enough to adequately support the generation. Society struggles with Social Security and Medicare debates while not looking through the microscope at those truly affected, the children. Many baby-boomers do not have adequate savings to account for the increased retirement age that has come with time, requiring that their children front the money for specialized care. This care can come in the form of a home nurse, or hospice care, or even simply hospital and doctor visits. Children of these parents must choose between abandoning their parent or sinking with them financially. Changes in culture, life expectancy, and finance have left the baby-boomers in a situation where they are unprepared for the difficulties of their later years. Most depend on selling their house as an investment for their retirement, but with the recent collapse, this is no longer a viable option for most. The houses of this generation have drastically dropped in value over the past few years causing those who can, to work longer into retirement, and those who cannot, to become dependent on the government, or their children, for support.
As a parent ages, they should enjoy life more, not less, and their children should not be robbed of the time remaining with them either. In order to achieve this, starting now, all parents who are not prepared for the end of their life should immediately begin, it is never too late. Even if a true goal of independence cannot be reached, any assistance the parent can give, any load they can take off the child or the state is welcomed. Surprisingly, many elderly soon-to-be-retirees simply put off saving for retirement, reasoning with themselves that is too late for them; that they could never reach independence for themselves. Many become embarrassed or depressed and refuse to take care of their financial obligations, and further, refuse to discuss them with the very people they will be affecting, their children.
This causes tension in life, over finances, tension in old age, and tension after the death of the parent. Resentment can be avoided, however, by simple planning throughout life, putting a little away each week, increasing the amount as possible. Beginning a retirement fund at any time is a fantastic idea; for the young, there will be many years of growth via interest and time. For the older saver, things are not lost, however. What they lose in time, they gain in earning power and costs. In the younger years, a person earns much less, and tends to own newer cars and homes. As a person ages, not only do they make more money, but they spend less, allowing them to effectively “catch up”. Remember, it’s never too late to save. It’s never too late to prepare for retirement, or talk to a parent about preparing for retirement. It is a conversation you will likely have with them eventually, better to do it sooner rather than later.
Have you had a conversation with your parents?
Do you know the plan of care they would like to proceed with?
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