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Estate planning may lessen strain of caring for an elderly parent

Most Massachusetts residents want their parents around for as long as possible. Of course, the older parents get, the more likely it is that they will face serious health issues. Estate planning can help in this situation if parents decide early how they want their care handled and paid for. However, many people do not take advantage of this planning, and adult children may be left shouldering the responsibility of care.

While middle-aged children may have the physical and mental stamina to provide such care, longer life spans are putting more retirement-aged individuals in the role of caretaker for parents in their 90s or beyond. Recent reports indicated that 10 percent of individuals in their 60s care for their elderly parents, and 12 percent of those 70 and older are also in a caretaker role. Because of the ages involved, the possibility also exists that a person could end up caring for a parent and a spouse.

The caretaker also needs to care for him or herself. It is likely that physical health issues could result from having to help a loved one into a vehicle, turn a parent in bed and having to interrupt sleep to provide needed care. When health issues plague the caretaker, the risk of death increases due to the mental and physical strain attributed with caring for a loved one.

Individuals do not have to feel helpless in this type of situation or wait to bear this burden. In fact, adult children may want to take the time to talk to their parents before this type of scenario arises. Massachusetts parents may be able to utilize estate planning documents to detail their care wishes and lessen the strain loved ones may otherwise have faced.

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