Majority of Adult Children Cannot Support Boomer Parents, Surveys Find

A recent survey by the American Advisors Group (AAG) finds that 55 percent of adult children say they are not financially prepared to help their Baby Boomer parents cope with rising inflation and living expenses.

“Americans want to see their parents age with grace and dignity and have the resources they need to live comfortably, but for many families the current economy is making that difficult,” AAG Chief of Marketing Martin Lenoir said in a news release.

AAG surveyed more than 1,500 adult children, ages 40 to 55, across the country. Known as the “sandwich generation,” this group faces the responsibilities not only of raising their children, but also of serving as caregivers for their aging parents.

Among the survey’s other key findings:

  • More than a third of adult children say they worry that their parents will become a financial burden for them.
  • Nearly 60 percent say they cannot afford any kind of professional elder care for their parents.
  • Yet almost half admit they have never broached the subject of finances with their senior parents.
  • A full 50 percent of them do not know how much debt their parents are carrying.

1 in 3 Adult Children Already Assisting Their Parents Financially

Another survey, conducted in 2020 by GoHealth, Inc., explored GenXers’ and millennials’ involvement in their parents’ financial and health care needs. It found that one in three GenXers and millennials are supporting their parents financially. Nearly the same number are managing, or helping to manage, their parents’ health care.

The survey’s 2,000 GenX and millennial respondents also reported the following:

  • On average, they spend 11.5 hours per week managing their parents’ health care by providing transportation, scheduling doctor visits, and explaining insurance claims. They also estimate they’ll spend 14 to 16 years continuing to do so.
  • 2 in 5 spent more than $10,000 of their own money supporting their parents in 2020.
  • The vast majority (86 percent of GenXers and 82 percent of millennials) worry about having enough money to support themselves and their parents.

Squeezing the Sandwich Generation

Adult children will continue to feel the pressure for the foreseeable future. Every day, on average, 10,000 Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) reach age 65, and another 10,000 of them turn 75. According to research by the Blackstone Group, an independent research firm, nearly 80 percent of middle-income Boomers do not have any savings designated to cover their retirement care.

Meanwhile, 30 million Boomers retired from the workforce amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Saddled with college debt, as well as rising inflation and housing costs, those GenXers and millennials who still depend on their parents for financial assistance or housing may no longer be able to count on that support.

Have ‘The Talk’

It’s important for families to have an honest and respectful financial conversation before a medical event occurs or the need for care arises. Talking about money with aging parents can be a delicate matter, but it’s necessary to understand both the degree of care that may be needed and the financial resources available to provide it.

For help planning for the future of your Boomer parents, or for your GenXer and millennial children, contact our office at (989) 356-6128 to schedule a long-term care consultation to discuss the options that are available to handle the cost of long-term care and the documents that are  recommended to assure that financial and legal matters can be handled appropriately.

According to a recent national study, nearly a quarter of Americans aged 50 and older say they – or a loved one – needed long-term care in 2022. The findings further suggest that seniors and their caregivers could benefit from more consumer-friendly information and guidance about long-term care services, a need researchers say will grow exponentially in the future.

Finding Long-Term Care Causes Wide-Ranging Emotions

Results showed that people looking for long-term care experienced a range of emotional responses in searching for a provider:

  • 53 percent of respondents reported feeling anxious about the process 

  • 52 percent described feeling frustration

  • 23 percent said they were confident during the process of long-term care for themselves or their loved one

  • 23 percent of respondents felt “at peace” about the choice they made for long-term care

  • Only 14 percent of respondents reported feeling happy

Respondents Want to Feel Prepared When Deciding on Long-Term Care

Researchers found that respondents want advice for seeking long-term care when it comes to the following:

  • 92 percent wanted to know what types of long-term care services are available
  • 90 percent wanted more information about paying for long-term care
  • 90 percent said advice and support on long-term care would have been helpful to them
  • 88 percent needed help understanding whether their personal or health care needs require long-term care
  • 88 percent of those surveyed also said they needed help choosing a long-term care provider
  • 86 percent said having someone to listen to them when seeking long-term care services would have been important to them
  • 84 percent of respondents wanted help deciding whether to pursue in-home care or community-based services (i.e., nursing home care)

Paying for Long-Term Care

A large number of respondents reported needing more information about how to pay for long-term care.

Of the people who were surveyed, 63 percent said it was extremely important to have additional details about the various types of care options available. Meanwhile, 69 percent said it was extremely important to have further details about the cost of care and their payment options.

To learn more about long-term care services and options, it is often helpful to work with an elder law attorney in the community who can help you assess the benefits and services available to you and create a plan for how to pay for long-term care. At Wenzel Bennett & Harris, P.C., we offer a consultation called a “Long-Term Care Consultation” in which we meet with clients to help create a plan for long-term care. If the client has a need for care in a nursing home or skilled care at home, we will work with the client and their family to explain how the Medicaid program works , review the clients’ assets and income, and assist the client in obtaining Medicaid benefits, where applicable. Many families are surprised to learn that they may qualify for benefits they weren’t aware were available to them. In addition, we help clients to make sure they have a good plan in place should it become necessary for them to have long-term care in the future. This often includes having Powers of Attorney for both financial and health care needs, so that appropriate agents are granted the authority and have the information needed to obtain benefits in the future, should that become necessary. If you or a family member would like to schedule a Long-Term Care Planning Consult, please contact our office at 989-356-6128.

If you have specific questions about your situation or would like to learn more, reach out to the team at WBH here.

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