Introducing my esteemed colleague, Gary Weigh. Gary is a nonaligned Financial Adviser and with many of our recent conversations touching upon the concerns people are having around parents who are seniors and the issues we all face as they age, Gary has offered to provide some practical tips for you based upon his field of expertise, Financial Advice For Seniors. This is particularly relevant in this current economic climate and more often than not, property and finances are intertwined.
Here is his aptly titled article – “When Our Parents Become Our Children”
There is nothing quite as heart wrenching as watching our parents decline physically and mentally through the final stages of life. After all, these are our parents; the very pillars of our existence. They produced us; raised us, loved us, provided for us and, in most cases, were always there for us.
When parents age beyond their capability to care for themselves, it can be a most difficult time for adult children. Even though the very same adult children have kids of their own, it is still a strange experience having to care for Mum and Dad.
It is devastating for us to watch dementia slowly change their personality and rob their mind of memory and recognition. It is almost unbearable to watch their weakening bodies being consumed by the pain of cancer or flesh scouring diabetes.
Yet somehow through this emotional turmoil, some calm and common sense must somehow prevail to find solutions for home help, in-home nursing, medical needs, and nursing care as and when required. And the big question is always how to fund it.
Quite often, a parent’s health circumstance requires very fast decision making, which in turn stresses out most adult children because they usually have no experience with Aged Care services.
To make matters worse, the consequences of making a wrong contractual decision in such a difficult and convoluted area can have a huge and lasting impact.
And of course, other ‘end-of-life’ issues just keep coming!
For example, what to do with the house? Arranging powers of attorney to act and sign on their behalf? Where are their wills? Where is their super? What are their wishes for special items such as jewellery, collectibles and the sentimental? What to do with their belongings? And so on.
Most people don’t even think about aged care issues at all until Mum or Dad have already arrived there. Even then, parents don’t help matters when they insist on staying at home forever, and steadfastly refuse to accept any help outside the immediate family. Unfortunately, this can trigger a tiring roster of family visits and personal care giving.
Guilt so often plays a big part. If we accede to our parents’ wishes to stay at home when we know it is the wrong decision, we feel guilty. If we make the sensible decision to override their wishes and relocate them to a care facility, we still feel guilty.
So not only do we feel the sadness of slowly losing our parents, we feel the pressing guilt of our best never being good enough. Of course, caring for parents is not always a short process. The cycle of care for slowly declining parents can go on relentlessly for years.
If you have endured it, then you know how very sad and emotionally draining it is over a long period of time. And the somewhat invisible knock-on effect can be the adverse impacts on your family income and relationships.
What every adult child wants is the best for their parents and some personal time out from the day in, day out grind of family-provided care. In the longer term though, the daily care burden simply can’t fall onto the shoulders of the adult children.
In Aged Care world, there is a solution for everything. You just need someone with the knowledge you need and the trust you desire. Trustworthy professional expertise saves you time and money by getting the best outcomes for your parents whatever their circumstances, and importantly removes the risk of you making needless costly errors through lack of experience and not knowing the ropes.
Owner & Financial Adviser
Gary Weigh & Associates Pty Ltd
Authorised Representative No. 426264 of
Australian Mortgage and Financial Advisers Pty Ltd AFSL No. 389206
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