Caring for aging parents

Are you caring for aging parents right now? Maybe you anticipate caring for your parents in the next few years. Is it possible you’ll be supporting a parent and a child at the same time?

Thoughtful planning can help you keep up with your responsibilities and achieve your long-term retirement goals.

Step 1

Make a plan

Understand what your aging parents want. Talk about overall finances, living arrangements and legal documents, as well as their healthcare needs and wishes. Know what your parents' resources are and what they want before a crisis arises.

Step 2

Get paperwork in order

Don’t put off preparing or changing any estate documents, living wills, power of attorney forms, healthcare proxies or beneficiary designations. Eventually, you’ll need to rely on these documents to make important decisions.

Step 3

Understand benefits and resources

Use the government programs, supplements and services designated for elders and their caregivers. Visit www.Benefits.gov, or go to the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, for more information on what’s available in your area.

Step 4

Take care of yourself

Don’t ruin your financial situation to solve your parents’ financial issues. It can be tempting to borrow from retirement savings or leave the workforce to help a parent. These decisions could have tax implications, lessen your earning power or burden your own children. Consider an alternative to stay on track for your own retirement.

If you’re playing multiple roles as the caregiver of an elderly parent, don’t forget to periodically monitor your workplace savings plan and commit to long-term goals.

1 Pew Research Social & Demographic Trends, “The Sandwich Generation,” January 30, 2013.

This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, investment, accounting, legal or tax advice.