Financial Hardships of Taking Care of an Aging Parent

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( — June 5, 2017) — The good news is that thanks to better hygiene, health habits and advancements in medical care, people are living longer and enjoying a better quality of life. The bad news for many families is that sometimes those who are living longer can’t live on their own, and it can be both a financial and emotional hardship on adult children to care for their aging parents.

In previous generations, people would care for their elderly parents at home or choose to put them in a nursing home, but neither of these are inexpensive options. Caring for an aging parent comes with a lot of complications that not many people think of or plan for, but they should. A business professional, Myles Haverluck tax expert can confirm that the financial burden of dealing with additional medical expenses, living expenses, and sometimes hiring someone to help out, can put a strain on your earnings and savings.

For you to legally take care of your parents, there are certain papers that need to be completed well ahead of time. But statistics show that as much as 50% of the population is not only unprepared to care for their parents, but they won’t have the legal means to take over if something should happen. These are the documents that need to be in place to ensure that you have the financial and legal authority to make decisions for your parents’ financial care.


The durable power of attorney gives the adult child the ability to manage their parent’s finances. That includes things like their banking account, paying their bills, any real estate issues that need to be handled, and anything else related to their financial assets and investments.


There may come a time when you will have to make medical decisions for your parents. Without the proper paperwork filed ahead of time, you won’t be able to do that. A durable power of attorney for healthcare — also known as a health care proxy — gives the adult child or guardian the ability to make healthcare and financial decisions for the person who names you in the document. If you want to be the person making the decisions, then your parent has to make you the successor to give you the authority to make those critical choices when needed.

A living will

A living will is a document that takes the pressure off of family members to make critical decisions about your wishes if you can no longer voice them. If your parent becomes medically incapacitated and is unable to make healthcare decisions — including questions of life support — a living will ensures that their wishes are followed and takes the onus off of you to make those important decisions without knowing which one is right. The paperwork is available at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Association; you can complete a living will with your aging parent, so that it is on record should something happen.

HIPAA consent form

HIPAA stands for the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act. It is documentation that gives you the right to be responsible for knowing and handling your parent’s medical information. Without the consent form, all their medical files and documentation must be kept private.

Making sure that you are listed as someone who is allowed to receive sensitive and private information is imperative, so that you know what is going on medically for your loved one. Often, they can become confused or forget things. If you want to be able to communicate with their doctors, a HIPAA form that includes your name is legally necessary.

Medical bills for an aging parent can add up really quickly. Since they might not be able to understand the complexity of what is covered through their medical insurance or Medicare, you may need to step in and take control before things get out of hand. To care for your loved one properly, it is imperative that you have the necessary documentation on file to step in when you need to.

Not everyone can afford to put their parents into an assisted living or nursing care facility, but sometimes living on their own can be just as expensive — especially if they have medical conditions. The way to figure out which is the best option is to anticipate what is coming as much as you can — both for their quality of life in the future and everyone’s financial future.