The New Aging Family:  Planning for the future

The New Aging Family: Planning for the future

The new aging family looks significantly different than it did at the height of the baby boom. There are fewer and fewer nuclear “traditional” families with a husband, wife, son, and daughter.  Now, more families look like the Brady Bunch or the Pritchetts from Modern Family, or even resemble the movie “Yours, Mine, and Ours”.  Life care planning today must account for the unique challenges facing blended families, solo agers, LGBTQ individuals and couples, and aging women.

Essential estate planning documents are the foundation of EVERY life care plan. While this is important for everyone over the age of 18, it is absolutely crucial for today’s modern family, who may have specific legal and financial needs to address.  For more information on the essential estate planning documents that every adult should have, click here.

Solo Agers

More than one in five adults over age 65 are aging with little or no family support. Without an established decision-making structure in place, solo agers or elder orphans are vulnerable to subpar care and even financial exploitation. A solo ager may be a person who is unmarried with no adult children or whose children are spread out across the country and not available to provide support. Solo agers may also be concerned that their family would put their personal needs ahead of the needs of the solo ager.  Regardless of the circumstances, a plan is critical to lessen the risks that go along with aging alone. These include creating essential estate planning documents and identifying a trusted friend or advisor to be named to assist them with financial and health care decision-making as they age. Our Aging Ally program was created to serve seniors in these precise circumstances.

Blended Families 

Life care planning for blended families is often the complete opposite of planning for those who are aging alone instead of having no support system, there are often too many people involved. Everyone has heard the phrase, “too many cooks in the kitchen.” These scenarios often lead to difficult decision-making, as well as the potential for family conflict.

For example, there may be children, stepchildren, and half children all wanting input in their aging parents’ care. Researchers have also found that the lack of a shared family history has a significant impact on the way stepfamilies cope with important decisions. Without proactive planning, blended families can potentially leave their aging parents as the pawns in a struggle for control over care decisions and finances.

LGBTQ and Life Care Planning

Life care planning for the LGBTQ community has been made easier with the advent of marriage equality laws but, those in the community still often face specific estate planning concerns that should be addressed by an estate planning attorney. LGBTQ couples can be part of a blended family with children from previous relationships or adopted children where one spouse is the sole legal guardian. They could be solo-agers raising a non-biological child they have not adopted, or a long partnered couple who have never married. According to Sage, an organization that provides advocacy and services for LGBTQ elders, “there are currently around 3 million LGBTQ adults over age 50. That number is expected to grow to around 7 million by 2030.” For more information on Sage, visit their website here.  Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) leveled the playing field for marriage equality but it didn’t remove the unique concerns that those in the LGBTQ community face as they age.

The new aging family is today’s American family.

We are living longer with more complex issues and fewer familial supports in place.  Drawing up a life care plan with an experienced attorney can ensure that your modern family is protected.

At Hurley Elder Care Law, we are committed to helping our clients find, get, and pay for good long-term care. For more information on how an elder law attorney can assist your family, please visit our website at www.hurleyeclaw.com or call our office at (404) 843-0121 for a complimentary telephone consultation.   You can also follow us on social media and subscribe to our blog for additional information and updates on these and other important topics!

We look forward to hearing from you and serving your new aging family!