We may not think about it often, but even celebrities act as caregivers for their aging parents.
Actress, singer, and songwriter Queen Latifah plays an active role in caring for her mother, Rita Owens, who was diagnosed with heart failure more than 10 years ago.
A Familiar Children-As-Caregivers Story
Owens learned of her condition when she passed out at work one day. She moved from New Jersey to California to recover and be close to her daughter. There, Queen Latifah cared for her mom and acted as a coordinator for a network of healthcare providers, family, and friends.
A few years later, in 2013, Owens was officially diagnosed with Scleroderma, or systemic sclerosis, a chronic connective tissue disease generally classified as one of the autoimmune rheumatic diseases, which contributed to her heart condition.
After her recovery from her heart failure, Owens was able to return to her home in New Jersey. Now, the two are working with the American Heart Association to raise awareness of heart failure and using Queen Latifah’s show VH1’s Dear Mamma, to bring light to Scleroderma and autoimmune diseases.
Queen Latifah’s story is far from unique, and can help you remember that if you are a caregiver of an elderly or sick parent, you are not alone. And there are resources available to support you.
Disharmony between Caregivers and Aging Parents
AARP reports of a study that found more discontent in relationships between U.S. elderly parents and their adult caregivers than in five other countries. In the U.S., 20% of the relationships were rated as disharmonious. In the five other countries surveyed—England, Germany, Israel, Norway, and Spain—less than 10% were similarly ranked.
Here in the US, it is sadly “normal” for caregivers of elderly or sick parents to feel frustrated, unappreciated, and resentful. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. With advance planning, strong communication, and family coordination, the potential for a disharmonious relationship can be greatly reduced.
Proper planning should not only account for the legal issues involved, but also the personal and interpersonal issues, too. Schedules should be worked out, structures put in place, and legal documents prepared. Getting your lawyer involved early in the process ensures all issues are identified, contingencies prepared for, and the transition into caregiving is as easy as possible for both you and your parents. We can help.
As a Personal Family Lawyer®, I can further advise you on all your options and make things as easy as possible for your family during a Family Wealth Planning Session. If you would like to have a talk about estate planning for your family, call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk.
To your family’s health, wealth and happiness!
P.S. Want to get started on the most important planning you'll ever do for your family?
Give our office a call at (978) 263-6900 to get started. You’ll be so glad you did.
David Feakes is the owner of The Parents Estate Planning Law Firm, PC – a law firm for families in the Acton, Massachusetts area. David helps parents protect the people they love the most. If you would like to receive David’s exclusive, free report, “Six Major Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing An Estate Planning Attorney,” you can get it right here.
Photo courtesy of VH1.