An article yesterday at Forbes explored an issue that has been dubbed “the ticking time bomb of eldercare.” It is well known that many families are forced to adapt their lifestyle once they start having children to make concessions for childcare. However, our New York elder law attorneys know that many families are also forced to make similarly tough decisions to account for eldercare when aging parents are in need of day-to-day assistance. Many local residents still fail to appreciate the demands placed upon adult children and other loved ones when a senior reaches the point where they cannot live on their own without help. The challenges are particularly harsh for local residents when no elder care planning has been conducted ahead of time to ensure that resources are available to provide the needed aid.
Yesterday’s article explains how eldercare expectations are very much rooted in old cultural norms. Specifically, in many families it is assumed that daughters will take care of parents as they age. Decades ago this was more logical as women were far less likely to be in the workforce and were more often available in their homes to assist parents throughout the day. However, those old realities are less and less true. Many more women have careers just as demanding as men. It is no longer easier for many adult daughters fit the care of their elderly parents into their lifestyle. Yet, cultural expectations persist, often making daughters disproportionately more responsible than sons for ensuring the well-being of their elders.
This cultural pressure may affect some women more than others. In particular, women with family backgrounds rooted in certain cultures–including Russia, India, China, and others–often face immense pressure to provide eldercare. For some that means ending a career that has taken a lifetime to build. As the authors of one study on the topic noted, “Eldercare is a serious issue…because its obligations and attendant guilt derail woman who are just hitting the peak of their careers.”
With the percentage of the senior population expected to increase radically in the coming years, many more families will be forced to make difficult choices about eldercare. There is no answer that is best for every family, as every situation is a bit different, demanding tailored solutions. However, our New York elder law attorneys have worked with enough families on these issues to know that far too often the financial pressures involved in eldercare limit the options available. Everyone should visit a professional in this area to ensure that steps are taken so that resources will be there to accommodate whatever eldercare decision the family agrees is best when the time comes.
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