Monday, February 17, 2014
We have periodically reported on the issues of caregiving for elders. The default caregiver seems to be the adult children of the elder, but what about those elders who have no children? That's the focus on an article by Abby Ellin in the New York Times on February 14, 2014. The Childless Plan for Their Fading Days. The article references an August 2013 study from AARP, noting
11.6 percent of women ages 80 to 84 were childless in 2010. By 2030, the number will reach 16 percent. What’s more, in 2010, the caregiver support ratio was more than seven potential caregivers for every person over 80 years old. By 2030, that ratio is projected to decline to four to one. By 2050, it’s expected to fall to three to one.
Unlike China, the Times article mentions, the U.S. doesn't have a law that mandates adult children visiting their 60+ parents. The article reviews the trend of an "expanded family" with ties to "second tier" relationships such as cousins, nieces and nephews rather than immediate family. The article goes on to note that concerns are not just limited to who will provide the care but include paying for the care, housing, estate planning and agents for decision-making.