My recent article on Business Insider points out that more families are living in multi-generational households with the recent shaky economy. While we are technically in a recovery period, the effects of the recession are still present in families. Taking care of elderly individuals is an expensive business, and those who did not save expecting a long life or those who did save and saw their retirement funds depleted in the stock market in recent years are struggling.
Adult children are more often taking care of their elderly parents, and for many, that requires taking them into the house rather than spending money for separate housing or care facilities.
As I pointed out in the article, this is the expected relationship in many cultures, and was at one time more common among middle-class American families. An unspoken contract described the relationship between parents and children: Parents were to give all they could, financially and otherwise, to support the development of their children, and in return, when the children became adults, they were to support their elderly parents, financially and otherwise, during the time they could no longer support themselves.
Many families in today’s society are not necessarily thinking about or planning for care for their parents. They are more concerned with securing a retirement and supporting their own children. There’s often not a good amount of money left over after these priorities are accounted for. We’re expecting our parents to be able to take care of themselves.
Are you prepared to financially support your parents as they age? If you are already doing so, or if you have done so in the past, what are your suggestions?