Caring For Aging Parents–The Pope and Respected Financial News Sources Weigh In

Family Caregivers for their Aging Parents
are Worth Their Weight in Gold

Valuing “old people”–included in Pope Francis’s speech–shouldn’t have surprised me. “Old people.” (At 78 is Pope Francis old?) Those words made an impact, while watching his presentations to Congress on TV, and again–while watching, I believe, his UN speech, on TV in New York.

And today I was told (by someone who hadn’t read the article) that a high-respected financial weekly, Barron’s, came out today promoting a “Caring For Aging Parents” article. Is this a coincidence? In any event, I was curious about its contents. Google supplied the article. (More about Pope Francis at post’s end.)

The article’s subtitle “How private banks are tackling the financial and emotional issues that affect older parents” reveals a niche focus: wealthy older people, “private clients” of banks’ private client division. That said, parts are instructive for everyone.

Paragraph three enumerates the responsibilities and situations affecting aging parents that banks can take over for private clients (at additional cost). “Boiled down to its essence, clients are looking for the best care and services they can find for a loved one—before a situation reaches a crisis stage.”

Don’t all of us want this for our loved ones? Most of the chores and attention-to-detail things described in the Barron’s article are routinely handled for elderly parents by their unpaid adult children caregivers. What the wealthy are paying for is no doubt time involved and hopefully expertise.

Realizing, from the article, the expense involved when the bank’s special personnel assume various caregiver responsibilities confirms something we already know: Adult children caregivers are worth their weight in gold (my words). Note: AARP Finds Family Caregiving Worth 470 Billion a Year (July 16, 2015).

My next thought was “While many don’t have the wealth to qualify as ‘private clients’ can we take away creative ideas from the article that all adult children with elderly parents can use?”

Perhaps. For example:

An aging husband on dialysis wants to take one last trip. The bank finds a highly-paid specialist who finds a trip that will allow this husband to get his dialysis treatments three times a week while on vacation. Couldn’t we/don’t we, regardless of income, do this kind of research if our parent with special needs wants a vacation?

Skim the article looking for themes and ideas.

Lastly, and importantly, the Geriatric Care Management profession has grown considerably from its debut around 20 years ago. With backgrounds in healthcare, social work and psychology, these professionals can do much of what the private banks are making available–no doubt less expensively (but they’re expensive) and equally well. Just be certain to hire someone you “click” with. For more information, check out this NY Times Old Age Blog’s excellent column.

Additionally, this July 2015 article from How To Handle The Financial Challenges of Caring for Aging Parents addresses the subject of caring for parents in your home.  

And Bob Rosenberg, former Los Angeles Times financial writer writes about “Medical Tax Breaks You Never Heard of For Ramps, Assisted Living, Rents, Elevators.”  Check out his site in “Blogs and Sites I Like” (tab above under header).

*      *    *  Now back to Pope Francis.

NYC’s last 2 days have been filled with Pope Francis (less than 3 months until his 79th birthday) who, like many older people, has some health issues. Perhaps the following is a stretch. That said–

Couldn’t those who surround Pope Francis daily be loosely thought of as caregivers? He is The Holy Father to multitudes. In addition, connections with others and having a purpose in life–all significant in helping parents age well–are part of his daily life.

Does this enable him to carry out a packed schedule with speeches each day that would be exhausting for one half his age who doesn’t have his “underlying health problems? I think the answer is “yes”—with help from a higher being.  Something for us to think about as we try to help our parents age well.

Many NYC streets were blocked off to provide speedy, secure access for the cavalcade that includes the Pope’s easily-recognezed small Fiat. Crowds spontaneously appeared as the police took up their positions, signaling he was about to pass by.  In the right place at the right time, I share this iPhone-taken-photo on a NYC side-street.


Click to enlarge

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