My mom's health has been deteriorating greatly over the past year. As an only child, I am her primary caregiver and this last hospital stay has really taken a toll on me. She gets very limited formal help and the rest of her care is left to me. I am so tired and can't concentrate on anything any more.
Just in front of every baby boomer, there is a parent. Or parents. Like me, on the brink of old age. Let us suppose that I am your mother. Chances are, when you ask me, "How are you Mom?" I will answer "Fine." Am I? Or am I in denial, protecting you from the truth, afraid to admit to my physical and mental lapses?
If you're in your 40s or 50s you may be starting to deal with the reality that your parents, as you've always seen them, are changing. Beginning to take on the role of care giver for your parents is another struggle, but how best to ensure mom and dad's well-being, finances, and expressed wishes are looked after is something you can plan for. This begins, ideally, by making decisions before the fact and there are four basic components you want to determine.
China's 4:2:1 problem is ours, too, just with a different name: A glut of people are growing old and there are fewer of us to pay for their care, while also having to save for our own retirement. At the personal level, there are more of us without siblings shouldering the costs of care for aging parents.