Responsibility Towards Aging Parents: Obligations, Care, and More

With time, you see your parent’s mental and physical health deteriorating. They soon become dependent on you for finances and other amenities. While this is heartbreaking, upending your life to offer them the care they need may not be practical.

Randi Schofield feels the agony of putting her life on hold to care for her dependents. She is the sole provider for her ailing father and two children. Soon after leaving her high-demand job, Randi had to pull USD 30,000 from her retirement funds for her father’s treatment. The New York Times reports how this situation is common in America.

In such instances, it is okay to wonder if you can refuse financial obligations. Even though this is a morally irresponsible thing to think, it is not wrong to wonder. In this blog, we will discuss financial obligations for taking care of your parents, ways to look after them, and more.

Responsibility Towards Aging Parents: Obligations, Care, and More

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Are There Any Legal Obligations?

Approximately 29 American states follow the Filial Responsibility Law. This law states that adults are legally and financially responsible for their parents. That means you can be penalized or arrested for refusing to offer care. You are legally obligated to provide food, medical attention, housing, and clothing to your parents.

The government enacted this to guarantee help for physically, psychologically, and financially challenged older adults. Moreover, this law considers your parent’s mental, financial, and physical health. For instance, in Arkansas and Pennsylvania, financially stable adults are forced to pay for their parent’s medical expenses.

Other than the legal aspects, you are morally obligated to care for your parents. It happens because the family dynamics change and your parents might develop physical or psychological issues.

That is why you must prepare amenities for their care before moving out. You can develop a proper caregiving strategy before you become the primary caregiver.

How to Care For Your Aging Parents?

Your parents might feel abandoned or neglected if you do not care for them. As a result, it will cause irreparable damage to your relationship. Hence, you should plan for in-home care or assisted living facilities.

1. In-Home Care:

In-home care services involve an adult gerontology nurse who provides 24/7 medical attention to your parents. Usually, these nurses have completed the adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner or AGPCNP programs.

These nurses ensure quality health care and monitor medical needs at residential facilities, clinics, or hospitals. An AGPCNP program teaches nurses expert clinical skills and ways to offer proactive support. According to the University of Indianapolis, any registered nurse with an associate degree program can apply for this course.

Hence, they have enough practical knowledge to navigate your parent’s medical files and provide exceptional care. That means your parents will be in the comfort of their home and in good hands. The nurses usually charge USD 27 per hour.

2. Assisted Living Facilities:

Currently, there are 30,600 assisted living facilities in America. These living communities are a secure and safe environment for your parents. Most facilities have security measures like surveillance, emergency systems, and more.

Furthermore, the staff can handle emergencies and provide your parents with everything they require. However, assisted living might not offer advanced medical services that you can access with a gerontology nurse hired for in-home care.

Even then, these communities are the perfect social environment for older adults to enjoy. The services include hygiene assistance, housekeeping, food preparation, transportation, and more. The median cost can be as high as USD 54,000 per year. However, it depends on the facility type and location.

What You Should Know Before Caring For Aging Parents

You cannot quantify the amount of money you ‘should’ or ‘should not’ give to your parents. Alexis Abramson, a lifestyle gerontologist, believes adults should share the caregiving burden with trained professionals. This way, you can avoid caregiver burnout.

Remember to consider the expenses before committing to caregiving. For instance, you might have to spend USD 7,000 yearly on living and medical expenses. Moreover, think about your needs, abilities, family demands, and more.

Understand your financial status first. And then, you can check adult care options like assisted living or in-home care.

Did you know there are instances when you can legally refuse care? For example, you can refuse to care for abusive parents or when you are going through a financial crisis.

Moreover, the Filial Responsibility Laws only consider basic financial requirements like food, medical expenses, and housing. You can say no if your parent’s expenditures are too extravagant. You are not legally obliged to pay for their leisure activities.

The Bottom Line

You cannot predict the future, but you can prepare for it. Your parents took care of you, fed you, helped you, and loved you unconditionally. The least you can do is care for them in their old age. It is a moral obligation that every adult should have.

For instance, you can give your parents enough to cover their medical bills, buy groceries, and pay insurance. Moreover, you can look for government aid for financial planning. It is crucial to make home adjustments and seek professional in-home care.

If you have limited finances, you can guide them to relocate to a cheaper place and help them downsize. Additionally, you can create a budget for them and ask them to move in with you. All these can help you provide financial and medical care for your aging parents.