Sixty-two per cent of Canadian adults with parents over the age of 65 admit they have not had a conversation with their parents about elder caregiving and financial support even though they feel it is important, says a CIBC poll released April 27. The main reason for not having such a discussion was because it makes them feel uncomfortable.
"Families shouldn't wait for a health emergency or unexpected event to force a hurried conversation about caregiving and financial planning," says David Nicholson, vice-president, CIBC Imperial Service. "These can be tough conversations, but creating a family playbook with clear plans and expectations can help reduce the emotional and financial strain to ensure everyone feels well-prepared for the years ahead."
Worried they will become a financial burden
The poll found 26 per cent of Canadians are concerned about helping their aging parents manage their finances, a number which increases to 31 per cent for adults ages 35 to 54. Additionally, 42 per cent of Canadians are concerned about losing their independence because of age or illness, and 31 per cent are worried they will become a financial burden for their families.
Ninety per cent of Canadians with parents above the age of 65 agree it is important to discuss how to manage their parents’ finances if they cannot handle them themselves. When it comes to having conversations with their parents, two in five respondents said they worry such a conversation would make them uncomfortable, or seem like they are only “after their money.” Seventy-three per cent believe their parents should start such a conversation.
Consult an expert
With Canadians on average living longer, the likelihood of needing some help with banking, health or personal care is something many families will need to consider, especially for those at risk of debilitating cognitive diseases which could leave them vulnerable to fraud or abuse, says CIBC.
"An outside expert or professional can help facilitate a family dialogue around what can otherwise be a tough conversation and help you create a financial plan that meets your needs and ensure you have the proper documents in place," says Nicholson. "You don't want anyone to scramble trying to find important documents, pay bills, or be unsure of what their mom or dad would've wanted."