Caretaking for parents increasingly common

Caretaking for parents increasingly common

Angie's List member Mary Alice Mulligan's father is 96. Her mother, 92. They devoted their lives to raising Mulligan and her three siblings. Now their children are giving back to keep them comfortable in old age.

"It's kind of who we are as family," the Indianapolis resident says. "When it was time for them to get a little more care, then we knew they had to move near one of us."

They moved three years ago from a retirement home in Illinois to Robin Run Village in northwest Indianapolis, where Mulligan visits them almost daily. Her siblings in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida take turns visiting once a month to give her a break.

The role reversal between parent and child will become increasingly common. The Indianapolis-area population age 65 and over is projected to increase 125 percent, from 189,339 in 2010 to 425,477 in 2040, according to the Indiana Business Research Center.

Caretaking can range from enlisting professional care at a nursing home to simply going with a parent to doctor appointments or hiring a contractor.

Angie's List member Pam Arregui's father is 82, her mother, 78. "They are not old, old," she says, laughing. "They are sounding younger all the time."

They live on their own in a condominium community outside Brownsburg [Ind.]. Her caretaking involves taking her mom to doctor appointments. "She likes to have company," Arregui says. "My dad likes his independence and pretty much goes by himself."

She gives both their cardiologists, Drs. Charles P. Taliercio and John Schutzman, high marks on Angie's List and says the doctors welcome her tagging along.

Alan and Kathy Jordan found themselves in yet another caretaker scenario: His parents lived independently, but needed to update their kitchen. He hired 11-time Super Service Award winner Pioneer Kitchens in Indianapolis for a $23,000 remodel that gave his parents joy, even if for a short time. His mother died a few months after the project and his father moved to a retirement home.

Still, the Jordans have no regrets. In his Page of Happiness nomination for Pioneer, Alan writes: "Mom and Dad actually got more than I thought they would for the price."

Pioneer Kitchens owner Tom Jeffers says he did about three projects last year involving adult children and their elderly parents and anticipates demand will continue to rise. The parents typically don't want to spend money on remodeling, he says, "because they think they are saving the money for the kids." The kids, however, "want to fix it up, even at the expense of their inheritance," he adds. "They are worried about their parents having comfortable last years of their lives."

Kitchen projects start at about $7,000 for basic new countertops and appliances to $15,000 or more for a gut remodel, he says.

The prices give parents pause. "They haven't bought anything like this for years," Jeffers says.

He explains it this way: "I ask them, 'How much did you pay for your house?' Well, they paid $13,000 and now it's worth $90,000," he says.


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