The Burden of Aging ParentsAging parents may require assistance with medical bills or with paying the rent for assisted living facilities. It all depends on the wealth available to the parents themselves. Many people did not plan for as long a retirement as is becoming common, nor did they plan to live for many years with chronic medical conditions. This lack of planning is no ones fault, as who could have guessed how much old age has changed in just one generation.
The Past Old AgeOne generation ago, the expectations of living into old age were slim. People expected to make it into their 60s or 70s and not much farther. That has changed radically today with advances in the managements of age-related diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Mow people can reasonably expect to live into their 80, 90s and beyond. This means that retirement planning needs to include 30 years of financial support. That is something that most seniors just don't have access to, leaving their children the responsibility of helping out.
The Sandwich GenerationThe sandwich generation is the generation of people with living parents who are in need of assistance as well as children at home who are not yet independent. This generation is needed by both the younger and older of the family. The need extends beyond simple financial needs to include everything from cooking to driving and helping with daily tasks.
What Can Be Done?Sure, this can be seen (and often is) a huge problem. But if we look to other cultures and how they see the role of seniors, we may begin to have a different perspective. In many cultures, for examples, elders are valued for their wisdom. These seniors live with their children and grandchildren, providing help with household tasks and watching the children. Perhaps there is something we can learn from that.
A new movement called, Aging in Place, tries to keep seniors in their homes for as long as possible.