Role Reversal: Caring for Aging Relatives

Marissa Poissant, CFP® March 4th, 2024

With individuals living longer thanks to healthier lifestyles and modern medicine, a significant family dynamic shift is underway. As of January 2024, there were roughly 62 million individuals aged 65 and up living in the U.S., a 34% increase over the last decade. With this demographic projected to make up nearly a quarter of the total population by 2050, many Americans will be faced with caring for their aging relatives.1,2

This role reversal in the family dynamic can be challenging and emotions often prevent important information from being exchanged and critical decisions from being made. That’s why it is best to have a strategy when approaching the discussion about future care with a loved one.

Covering the Basics

Gathering essential information about your loved one’s health and future care plans can help you keep the conversation on track.

Here are some of the basic essentials to use as a starting point:

  • Healthcare Network: Familiarize yourself with your relative’s healthcare team, including their primary care physician, and any specialists.
  • Medications & Allergies: Keep an updated list of prescriptions and known allergic reactions to any medications.
  • Medical & Legal Documents: Knowing where important documents are stored is crucial, including their Medicare card, insurance information, power of attorney for healthcare, and estate information such as wills and trusts.

Setting Boundaries and Expectations

The emotional aspects of elder care can be overwhelming, which is why it can be beneficial to involve other siblings or relatives who can help. Although one family member tends to take a lead role when it comes to caring for an aging relative, communicating early on what should be expected from everyone involved can make the situation more manageable.

Understanding the Financial Implications

Elder care can encompass a wide range of expenses from medical costs, to prescription medications, to residential care fees. Although discussing finances with a loved one can be a stressful endeavor, helping them develop a well-rounded financial strategy can prevent undue financial stress. This will not only help secure the necessary resources for their future care, but can also promote peace of mind for all parties involved.

The earlier you begin the conversation about these important issues, the more likely you are to be prepared when a crisis arises. Remember that whatever your relationship is with your relatives, compassion, preparation, and a willingness to engage can turn seemingly daunting tasks into opportunities for growth and understanding. It’s through these dialogues that we can help ensure the well-being of those who once cared for us.

As a wealth advisor, guiding these discussions with sensitivity and expertise is an invaluable service that I am able to provide to clients. If you are a new caregiver or would like to learn more about the financial planning process, please feel free to reach out.

1Pew Research Center, January 9, 2024
2“A Profile of Older Americans: 2015” Administration on Aging, Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015

Read More By Marissa Poissant, CFP®

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Investment advisory services are offered through Concord Wealth Partners, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor.

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