If you're like me, you probably know at least one family of grandparents raising their grandkids. And while raising children is undoubtedly one of the most meaningful and precious undertakings we can experience, it brings with it a whole host of challenges; challenges that can certainly become more complicated and intensified for aging guardians.
We all know that the modern family is changing its dynamic. Here are a few surprising facts about grandparents raising grandchildren in the United States:
1. According to a 2010 survey, about 1 in 14 U.S. children lived in a household headed by a grandparent.
2. Nearly 5.8 million U.S. children live in their grandparent's homes.
3. Over 2.5 million grandparents have taken on the responsibility of caring for these children.
4. In Virginia alone, 60,675 grandparents are householders responsible for their grandchildren. 16% of these grandparents live in poverty.
5. The percentage of children living in their grandparent's household has been steadily rising over the last 40 years, more than doubling from 1970 to 2010.
Many grandparents raising their grandchildren are not aware of the many programs and services available to them. For more statistics and helpful resources in Virginia, see AARP's state Grandfacts Sheet. And no matter what state you call home, see more about AARP's Grandfacts.
If you or someone you know is a grandparent raising a grandchild and you're interested in finding out what kind of government programs may be available to you, try the government Benefit Finder.
More and more studies are finding that animals make great therapists, increasing our quality of life.
Loneliness may be the most harsh and relentless cause of suffering for America's seniors, and a pet makes a great companion. An animal offers unconditional love and a strong bond based on trust and dependence. This non-verbal relationship may be the key to lifting the spirits of an aging adult who is often alone. Touch is a powerful thing, and a loving pet can provide the touch and warmth of another creature.
Of course, there are many situations where an aging adult is unable to provide the necessary care for pet ownership. In those cases, pet visitors have proven to be extremely effective in alleviating depression and boosting morale. So much so, in fact, that a few years ago a Japanese robot manufacturer created Paro, a fuzzy, cuddly "medical device" used in nursing homes. But there's no need to save up for an interactive robot. Your family dog, or cat, or ferret, or parakeet... will do the trick.
Animals are especially helpful to patients with dementia. A pet encourages movement: petting, walking and grooming. While this may not seem like much, these small activities make a world of difference in improving the condition of a patient with dementia. An animal friend stimulates the mind and caring for an animal provides a sense of purpose that can't be measured.
Some say animals make the best company. If you have an aging loved one in your life, consider introducing them to a furry friend. It could be more helpful than you know.
This year’s study shows that Americans worry about their financial safety net. The possibility of outliving one’s savings is a serious fear in the United States. In fact, when asked about Social Security, a whopping 30% of Americans believe it is not at all likely to be available when they need it.
According to Northwestern Mutual’s research:
· Three in ten U.S. adults believe there is greater than a 50% chance they will outlive their savings.
· More than one in ten think there is a 100% chance their savings will run out someday.
· Once in four Americans are unsure if their savings will last.
· More than half say they have not taken any steps to address the risk of outliving their savings.
You may be surprised to learn that an elder law attorney can help you plan your financial future. We can discuss little-known options about planning for long-term care, and offer strategies that can help preserve your savings and protect your legacy for your family. Contact us for a free consultation.
First of all, a will lets you decide who will inherit from you.
If you die without a will, the state will decide who receives your property and life savings. This happens by statute, without regard to your wishes or your family’s needs.
A will allows you to decide who gets special family heirlooms, such as rings, china, or guns. Without a will, your family may feud over these items, or fight over who gets to be the administrator of the estate- the person who will make such decisions. Relatives battling over your possessions can weaken what may have otherwise been a strong family.
A will allows you to leave money to your church or a charity. It allows you control over the distribution of your real estate and it allows you to leave a life estate to your spouse or child, or to place conditions upon the use of your land.
A will allows for a smooth transition of your family business to the persons of your choice, in whatever manner you decide.
Wills are especially important for families with stepchildren, as the laws of the state often will not reflect the wishes of the parents in such situations. The laws of the state will also not provide for your partner if you are not married.
Your will can state who you wish to be the guardian or guardians of your minor children or grandchildren. If you don’t decide, the courts will. This is particularly important if you want a specific family member or friend to take care of your children or grandchildren, but that person is not your next of kin. It’s best to designate that person specifically in a will. Otherwise, the state might give custody to a relative who you may not approve of.
You can use your will to specify your wishes regarding burial, cremation, or memorial services. Your will can help avoid family squabbles or “guilt buying” at the funeral home. (It’s important to note that your will is often not read until after the funeral, so it is a good idea to advise your loved ones that you have specified your wishes in your will).
What if you don’t own anything and you don’t have any savings?
Suppose you die in a car wreck caused by a drunk driver. Even if you have no property or savings, your estate might have a wrongful death claim worth a great deal of money, which will be distributed by the laws of the state if you have no will. In other words, if you die in an accident, your family could be entitled to money because of it, and having a will in place will decide who that money goes to.
Everyone dies. It’s not something that we like to think about, but we never know when the final curtain will fall. A will can help ease the burden on your loved ones. Your death will be a painful time for them, and leaving a will for them to follow could ease their stress and worry. A will can also help to avoid family squabbles over your possessions after you die.
A lot of people find that the process of making a will is a positive experience because it gives them peace of mind and it also enables them to start thinking about issues important to their loved ones. In the end, it’s something you do for the people you care about.
To learn more, please visit our Wills & Power of Attorney page or contact us for a free consultation.
For those with Parkinson’s disease, getting enough hydration can be tough. Here are ten easy-to-eat raw fruits and vegetables that can help keep you healthy and hydrated without the straw.
1. Grapes: conveniently bite-sized, juicy and full of Vitamin A and Potassium.
2. Melons: this delicious summertime snack is high in Vitamin A.
3.Berries: raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, these little delights are a great source of vitamins and minerals.
4. Bell Peppers: high in vitamin C.
5. Spinach: the ultimate superfood. If you’re lacking in a nutritional supplement, chances are you can find it in spinach. Not only is spinach rich in vitamins and minerals, it’s also chocked full of hydration.
6. Cucumber: high in Vitamin A and Potassium.
7. Pineapple: full of Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Potassium.
8. Mango: one of Nature's sweetest fruit, it’s high in minerals, Vitamin C and extremely high in Vitamin A.
9. Broccoli: raw broccoli crowns may not be for everyone, but for those who love them they love you back with Vitamins K, C and A, plus tons of Potassium.
10. Apples: they come in dozens of varieties and they're an incredible source of Potassium and Vitamin A.
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