One of my colleagues, who is married without children in his early 50’s, and I had a conversation about retiring. I asked him who is going to take care of him and his wife when they get up in age. His answer startled me. He told me that he and his wife are currently looking at retirement communities because “he would not dare trust his nephews or nieces to look after them.”
Many baby boomers are approaching the age of 65. A recent study showed that only 49% of millionaire baby boomers indicated that leaving money to their children was a priority in their estate planning. As baby boomers are getting older, the demographics mean that even more older adults will be facing elder abuse. Financial exploitation continues to be the most common type of elder abuse, with the adult children and other relatives of the elderly helping themselves to their assets.
Many baby boomers fear that their children are not as independent as they were when they were younger and will need their financial support. Many feel that baby boomers have spoiled their children and will pay for it when they are older.
Many adult children of baby boomers are returning home and the parents are footing the bill. Mothers, in particular, are letting their adult children return home. Many are paying their bills, washing and buying their clothes, cooking their meals and paying for their life and car insurance policies. Unfortunately, this fosters an environment for financial exploitation, particularly when the mother does not have a husband. The children become aggressive, laying guilt trips, or in many cases, just steal. We are seeing this trend in India. Mothers, in many cases, make excuses for their children because they are embarrassed by their child’s dependency.
We are now seeing adult children moving in their parent or parents’ home with their children. They expect the grandparents, particularly the grandmothers, to cook, clean, babysit and provide financial assistance. Many grandchildren are stealing from their grandparents and showing a lack of respect. This type of elder abuse begins in a subtle manner then progresses into blatant mistreatment.
When some try to intervene, many mothers and grandmothers become defensive. This is to their own detriment. Unfortunately, many mothers and grandmothers are falling into debt, taking out payday loans, cashing in their life insurance policies, tapping into their home equity, losing their homes and having utilities shutoffs as a result of taking care of an adult child.
Many baby boomers may have to deal with adult children who feel that their parents should continue to take care of them and in some cases, their families as well.
As I always mention, please report all incidents to the proper authorities. You can also find information on the National Center on Elder Abuse’s website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov.
Please feel free to leave your questions or comments.