Adult Kids and Aging Parents: When Roles Reverse

The seminar that will move you to tackle this touchy topic.


Recently, we overheard a man tell his high-school-age son, “The people who love you most want you to be ready and prepared for the rest of your life.” The advice couldn’t have been better.  It was concise, loving and on point.  The man may be delivering that same advice again, but next time when speaking to his parents, versus his teenager. 


From our experience, most aging parents declare they don’t want to become a burden on their adult kids, chances are they will.  Getting older equates to needing help in one way or another. One way to minimize the chances of one generation being a burden on the other is for families –- the aging parents and their adult kids –- to work together to plan ahead. 


While that sounds good, all too many families deal with the challenges that come in later life is through procrastination and inertia. Adult kids don’t want to usurp their parents’ autonomy any more than the parents want to give it up.  The result is that nothing gets discussed or decided until it becomes urgent to do so. This approach, though entirely understandable, can be devastating to a family financially, psychologically, logistically, and emotionally.


It was quite unnerving to see how quickly the winds of our parent care crisis morphed into a full-blown tornado, sucking in family members and family resources with relative ease.
— “The Other Talk”, Tim Prosch


What needs to happen is a planned and anticipated role reversal in which adult kids gradually take over some or all of the decision making, financial affairs, and day-to-day responsibilities of their parents.  All of this requires thought and discussion.  Ideally, decisions as to who does what, who gets what, what goes where, and the timing around all of it are discussed while everyone is mentally coherent and physically able to participate in the discussion. 


Planning ahead also allows aging parents to weigh in on where one or both want to live if failing health forbids staying in their home, how they wish financial assets and/or debts to be handled, what to do if they outlive their savings, their desired funeral arrangements, and on and on.  It’s not only unfair to leave these decisions to the adult kids; it also can be overwhelming.  Without the wishes of parents known, families can be torn apart by adult kids having all of this on their plate.  Worse yet is the potential squabbling and family relationships ruined over the distribution of money and possessions.


Making the gradual role reversal easier is entirely doable.  All it takes is families having the right attitude, going about the decision making ahead of time, and following a clear step-by-step strategy to take charge of things in the later years of life.


At Lenox, we work closely with families who are facing these kinds of situations.  Our special program called “Embrace” helps guide our senior clients and their adult kids through the process of thinking about, establishing and facilitating an end-of-life plan that is in everyone’s best interest. 


Our goal is to equip families with a template from which to discuss, explore, and think about end-of-life issues, empower adult kids to make the tough decisions if and when their parents can’t, and set an example for the adult kids to share with their own kids someday.


Want to learn more about Embrace and how you can take charge of your later life? Mark your calendar for The Other Talk to be held on Thursday, September 27 at the Kenwood Towers, 8044 Montgomery Road, 45236. This information-rich seminar conducted by Anne Burney, Lenox Senior Vice-President, CSA  (Certified Senior Advisor) will be the go-to event for finding out how to tackle the touchy topic of role reversal with clarity and the right tone to support every member of your family. A complimentary lunch will be provided.



Take steps now to show the people you love most how to be ready and prepared for the rest of your life.


At Lenox, we work with families to help guide them in every aspect of their financial life –– from generational finances, to setting financial priorities, to eliminating debt, establishing budgets, career planning and coaching, funding education, retirement planning, and working through financial hurdles –– the entire realm of wealth creation, wealth building, and wealth management.  We start with you, not your portfolio to help you FUND A LIFE YOU LOVE™.


If you’re ready to discuss financial, business, career and life planning that will allow you to Fund a Life You Love®, we’d love to tell you more.  Let’s talk.  It’s your tomorrow. Schedule a 15-minute call to see how we can help you. Call 513.618.7080 or visit to Fund a Life You Love.


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This blog is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to its investment advisory/management services. This is not intended to be personalized investment advice. Please contact a Lenox adviser if you would like additional information.