Guidance on How to Care for Your Aging Parent

Contributed by: Sandra Adams, CFP® Sandy Adams


More and more often as we meet with clients, one of the major topics that comes up is the responsibility of caring for an aging parent.  The topic is one that causes a great deal of stress and anxiety, as most clients that find themselves in this role have no idea where to start.  I am always looking for tools and resources that might be helpful for both clients and planners in assisting our clients in this area, and recently read a book called “The Bittersweet Season” by Jane Gross that I consider a must read for anyone who is a caregiver now or might be in the near future.

Jane Gross, the author of “The Bittersweet Season” and creator of the New York Times New Old Age blog, shares her personal journey becoming a caregiver for her aging mother.   Jane and her brother are suddenly thrust into the world of advocacy and planning for their aging mother as her health suddenly declines in her 80’s.  Jane tells of their trials, tribulations, errors and successes as they navigate the unknown worlds of healthcare, Medicare and Medicaid, senior housing, caregiving and elder law.  She shares her best tips based on lessons learned – both through personal experience and through others based on her New Old Age blog.  Two of her greatest lessons learned were not to act before checking in with experts and to ask for help – there is no need to try to do everything on your own.

In the book, Jane also discussed the successes and failures of the roles of caregiving between siblings; determining whose strengths matched which roles best and how to best manage emotions so as not to let the stress of caregiving destroy the relationship between her and her brother.  She also tells a wonderful story about the ups and downs of the relationship between she and her mother during the caregiving relationship, and how, ultimately, the experience brought she and her mother closer together. And how she wished she’d had just a little more time to get to know her mother – the end of her life was the end of their bittersweet season.

For recommendations on additional resources and tools for caregiving, or to discuss how caregiving for an aging parent might impact your own financial plan, contact your financial planner at The Center.

Sandra Adams, CFP® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.

Any opinions are those of Sandra D. Adams and not necessarily those of Raymond James.