BOSTON (CBS) – As the adult child you may have to reverse roles with your parents! There is a stage in life where many of us parent our parents.

They begin to need more help than just picking up a few groceries. They can’t maintain their garden or balance their checkbook without some help. Dad needs you to help him put in the air conditioners.

All signs of normal aging. Nothing to be concerned with. But what if they need more than a Saturday afternoon of your time?

What if they need financial help to stay in their home? Are you prepared? Are they?

You will eventually have to have a talk with your parents about their situation. This may be the hardest conversation you have ever had with your parents. Harder than the sex talk if there ever was one. They don’t want to talk about their money, selling their home or their driving ability.

If you have siblings get them involved. Who is going to take the lead in this? And be prepared to ask some tough and awkward questions. Do not expect to get through all of the questions in one afternoon.

Some questions to consider:

  • Are they concerned about running out of money?
  • Do they need your help? Physically or financially?
  • Have they done their estate planning? Where are the wills? Who is the executor?
  • Where are the important papers of their lives? Do they need help organizing them (now that you are such an expert on organizing)? The estate planning documents, the financial statements etc.
  • Do they have an adequate income? Enough money saved?
  • If something happens to one of them is the other provided for? Would Dad’s pension stop if he should die first? Do they both understand the family finances?
  • Do they have life insurance? Long-term care insurance? Medigap insurance? Homeowners insurance?
  • Have they considered alternative housing?
  • Are they worried about losing their driver’s license and their ability to drive?

Some scary data; The average American woman can expect to spend 17 years caring for a child and 18 years caring for an elderly parent.


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