It is very difficult for children as a parent ages to know how actively involved they should be in their parents’ affairs.
As our population is getting older, many children find that they need to assist their parents in managing their health and/or financial affairs, and are struggling with weighing the privacy of their parents against the need to know in order to be able to assist them.
Also, in light of the filial responsibility statute in Pennsylvania (see prior blog entitled “Filial Responsibility in Pennsylvania”), children need to know what is occurring in their parents’ lives, to avoid being could be held personally responsible for nursing home bills even though they were not a part of, and may not have even known anything about, what was occurring.
This is a very sensitive topic, however, because often people of the older generation are very private.
It is essential for children of elderly parents to educate their parents about why it is important for the children to be involved, and it is important for the children to educate themselves on the issues relevant to their parents’ care and needs as part of the process of getting more involved in their parents’ affairs.
Knowledge and information are power, and the parent’s understanding of why it is important for a child to have information, and what could occur if they do not, is key. It is often helpful to have the parent speak to a professional who can explain the importance of the children’s participation, and discuss the level of that participation, and perhaps to also help manage the relationship.
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Jeffrey Bellomo, Esq.