General Question

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Prompted by a previous question, do you know of a number of adult children who are helping their elderly parents financially if their pension is not adequate?

Asked by ZEPHYRA (20071points) July 15th, 2014

To your knowledge are there a number of cases where adult children help elderly parents supplement their income due to economic crisis.

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9 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

I work with a lot of elderly patients. Many of them have children that help out with finances and personal care. For most of them, the help is minimal, but for some, it is pretty substantial.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Yes. Although some elderly people have substantial assets, collect good pension and Social Security benefits, and can cover their own expenses, other people need to turn to their children for help. This is a terrible burden for children who are raising families of their own, paying mortgages, and putting kids through college.

As is typical for the United States, Americans pay the world’s highest costs for eldercare and yet the lowest level of care and satisfaction in return. All that money goes into shareholders’ pockets, not into quality of services.

Some people move in with an adult child, but that’s often not as simple as it sounds. As mobility, mental function, and activities of daily living (feeding, bathing, dressing and undressing, and toileting oneself) increasingly slip, it becomes very difficult to care for someone. The adult child needs to have enough space in his/her home to take in a relative, plus the home has to be properly equipped (no steep staircases; a walk-in shower). Also, if the adult child has a job, the elderly person gets left alone for many hours; imagine if the house catches on fire, or if someone with gets out and wanders off.

JLeslie's avatar

Most people I know don’t need to help their parents financially, but they do help care for their parents in one way or another as they become less able to do so. Anything from little things to full blown taking them into their home and being the primary caregiver.

I do know a couple people who probably will have to take care of a sibling or parents in the future financially, it just hasn’t happened yet, but is predictable in some cases. It depends how long the older relatives live and how difficult their later years will be. Sounds awful, but that the fact. If they suddenly drop dead while they are still in their working years or before their saving run out there will be less financial burden on the family.

tinyfaery's avatar

Culturally, Latinos are expected to care for their parents no matter how much money the parents have. Most people I know help their parents do everything. Many of the Asian people I know are also expected to help their parents.

I’m not sure why this is an issue. Most of the “white” people I know don’t do much the aging in their families. Maybe the cultural conscription isn’t the same for white Americans.

JLeslie's avatar

@tinyfaery I agree there is differences in the cultures, but the majority of my friends, maybe all, who are “white” either do or will care for their parents, even including taking them into their home if they have the space to do so (most do have the space, although a lot of parent’s don’t want to move out of their own home). What they won’t have to do is spend a lot of their own money on caring for them. The parents saved and have social security and pensions. even the parents who never made a lot of money, among my peers they did focus on saving. My inlaws, who are Latin American, definitely don’t save much, and their incomes have had room to save.

marinelife's avatar

My mother had a very good monthly income and an excellent health insurance plan. She gradually used up all of her savings and ended up in the hole every month because of the cost of assisted living care.

LornaLove's avatar

Most everyone I know invests time, money and care to their elderly parents. With those that have little money, they end up spending much more time caring for the parents. If the parents have money they also require time from the adult kids.

I think personally this area of our ‘development’ as adult children has been very underestimated, in that people didn’t feature in their pre-retirement plans that they would be spending money meant for retirement on parents that have retired. Nor the strain on marriages for the time and care parents take. I wish there was a solution.

JLeslie's avatar

@LornaLove I often wonder how people don’t think about it. The writing is usually on the wall. Most people have a reasonable idea of their parents finances I would think.

snowberry's avatar

I took care of my father for 10 years in my home. It’s the way we’ve always done such things in our family. If you don’t want to end up in a nursing home, you had better model such behavior for your children.

Taking care of the elderly has great benefit for the caregiver and their family. My children really got to know and love their grandfather in a way they never would have otherwise.

My kids all hope to take care of us in our old age too. It’s a blessing.

As far as financially, my father helped us buy a house big enough for everyone, because we wouldn’t have had room otherwise.

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