Aging Parents

Welcoming a New Addition: Mom

So, your mom (or dad) is moving in with you. Welcome to a bona fide trend: According to the United States Census Bureau, there were 4.3 million multigenerational households in 2009-20111, a 10 percent increase over 2000.2

While it’s noble, even satisfying to help your parent out after all they’ve done for you, the transition means major adjustments. You may have to accept new financial responsibilities, ask your kids to share a bedroom or make your home more wheelchair-friendly.

Use these five strategies to help ease the transition and enable you to make financial decisions that work for every member of the household.

1. Discuss expectations

Do you expect Mom to contribute to the household budget? What modifications are needed to make the house safe? Does Dad qualify for Medicare or other programs? The answers will often depend on your parent's financial and physical health and will likely change over time. Still, it's a good idea to have these conversations early and revisit them as necessary. 

There’s also the question of what help you’re expected to provide. "Once you find out what your mom’s cash flow is like, you'll have to decide what you can afford to cover if there’s a shortfall," says Ben Moore, a premier banker with SunTrust in East Falls Church, Va.

2. Give your parent some autonomy

Losing independence can be upsetting, so allow your parent to keep managing his or her affairs as long as possible. If Dad is still able to drive or Mom has the resources to pay some of her own bills, support those decisions. Taking complete control, while well-intentioned, can undermine aging parents’ dignity. "A little independence can help keep the mind sharp," Moore says.

3. Share the burden

Don't put all of the responsibility for providing care on one set of shoulders. Enlist the help of siblings and other family members. Ask your sister to attend medical appointments. Get your husband to help track her bills. Some families draft a sibling support agreement to formalize who pays for what when a parent comes to live with one sibling.

4. Prepare for the difficult decisions

At some point, the need for care may take a back seat to making some heart-wrenching choices. Plan now for a time when Mom or Dad is no longer able to make critical decisions. A living will allows your parent to express their desires regarding what medical care they want during end-of-life situations. And a durable power of attorney determines who handles your parent’s financial matters when he or she no longer can. Consult with an elder law attorney for more information on these and other vital legal arrangements.

5. Spend quality time together

With a little luck, the added time you spend with Mom or Dad will outweigh the new responsibilities you face. Many families are grateful that their kids can grow close to their grandparents. Family dinners are extra special when three (or more!) generations gather around the table. Encourage Mom or Dad to share their best stories with you and the grandkids. Making time to enjoy each other's company can make this a positive experience for the whole family.

1 US Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/acsbr11-03.pdf

2 US Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/census_2000/cb01-cn182.html

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

Related

Investment and Insurance Products:

Are Not FDIC or any other Government Agency Insured   Are Not Bank Guaranteed  May Lose Value 

© 2018 SunTrust Banks, Inc

equal housing logoSunTrust Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. Member FDIC

equal housing logoEqual Housing Lender. SunTrust Mortgage, Inc

SunTrust, SunTrust Mortgage, SunTrust PortfolioView, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, SunTrust Premier Program, AMC Pinnacle, AMC Premier, Access 3, Signature Advantage Brokerage, Custom Choice Loan and SunTrust SummitView are federally registered service marks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Services provided by the following affiliates of SunTrust Banks, Inc.: Banking products and services are provided by SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. Trust and investment management services are provided by SunTrust Bank, SunTrust Delaware Trust Company and SunTrust Banks Trust Company (Cayman) Limited. Securities, brokerage accounts and insurance (including annuities) are offered by SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., a SEC registered broker-dealer, member FINRA, SIPC, and a licensed insurance agency. Investment advisory services are offered by SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc., a SEC registered adviser. GFO Advisory Services, LLC is a SEC registered investment adviser that provides investment advisory services to a group of private investment funds and other non-investment advisory services to affiliates. Mortgage products and services are provided by SunTrust Mortgage, Inc.

SunTrust Mortgage, Inc. - NMLS #2915, 901 Semmes Avenue, Richmond, VA 23224, 1-800-634-7928. CA: licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act, IL: Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee #MB-989, Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, 100 W. Randolph, Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60601, 1-888-473-4858, MA: Mortgage Lender license #-ML-2915, NJ: Mortgage Banker License - New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, NY: Licensed Mortgage Banker—NYS Department of Financial Services, and RI: Rhode Island Licensed Lender.

"SunTrust Advisors" may be officers and/or associated persons of the following affiliates of SunTrust Banks, Inc.: SunTrust Bank, our commercial bank, which provides banking, trust and asset management services; SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., a registered broker-dealer, which is a member of FINRA and SIPC, and a licensed insurance agency, and which provides securities, annuities and life insurance products; SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc., a SEC registered investment adviser which provides Investment Advisory services.

SunTrust Private Wealth Management, International Wealth Management, Business Owner Specialty Group, Sports and Entertainment Group, and Legal and Medical Specialty Groups and GenSpring are marketing names used by SunTrust Bank, SunTrust Banks Trust Company (Cayman) Limited, SunTrust Delaware Trust Company, SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., and SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc.

SunTrust Bank and its affiliates do not accept fiduciary responsibility for all banking and investment account types offered. Please consult with your SunTrust representative to determine whether SunTrust and its affiliates have agreed to accept fiduciary responsibility for your account(s) and if you have completed the documentation necessary to establish a fiduciary relationship with SunTrust Bank or an affiliate. Additional information regarding account types and important disclosures may be found at www.suntrust.com/investmentinfo.

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey is the trade name for the corporate and investment banking services of SunTrust Banks, Inc. and its subsidiaries, including SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., member FINRA and SIPC.