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How an Only Child in Colorado Might Navigate Caring for an Elderly Parent

Reuters has reported that more and more American adults are facing the challenge of being the only adult child available to provide care to aging parents. The reason is straightforward: According to Census Bureau data, family size is shrinking in the U.S. Reuters says the latest numbers from 2022 reveal that 19% of American women ages 40-44 have only one child — the highest percentage ever recorded in that category. By contrast, it was 9.6% in 1976. How should sole children prepare for the prospect of taking care of one or more parents? The following steps were advised: 1) Start early to financially save as much as possible. 2) Avoid raiding your own savings to provide care so as not to imperil your own family’s future; look first to your parent’s resources and perhaps strategize with a financial advisor how they can best be utilized. 3) Resist giving up your career to be a full-time caregiver; the long-term consequences could be devastating. 4) Seek help. Consider if friends or other relatives might be able to pitch in with time, money or both. Assemble a professional team to help navigate the challenges ahead, including a financial planner to chart the money path and an estate lawyer for important documents like power of attorney or healthcare proxies. Get involved in support groups, so you don’t have to go it alone with caregiving. A starting point for resources might be the Eldercare Locator at https://eldercare.acl.gov/Public/Index.aspx, a public service from the Administration for Community Living.

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