When you think of a family “freeloader”, generally what comes to mind is that 'child' that never grew up, who makes absolutely no effort to be self-sufficient. While it's true, their parents share the blame, always footing the bill and enabling this behavior it still creates discontentment among family members. The family's ne're-do-well becomes an even greater source of family strife as those same parents begin to age and can either not longer support the child, or worse, their support compromises their ability to finance their own rising healthcare costs.
As the adult child “freeloader” continues to mooch off of the aging parents or worse, becomes verbally or physically abusive, it's left to the responsible adult children, who have lives of their own, to come to the rescue (again). Ultimately, everything comes tumbling down with a freeloader that will forever be ill equiped to handle the mounting responsibilities that an elderly parent requires.
This is an increasingly common problem especially in light of the recent economic downturn and with an expanding retirement bubble of aging baby-boomers. Fortunately, Forbes recently explored this conundrum in an article titled “What Siblings Need to Do About Aging Parents and The Family Freeloader.”
So, what can you do? Unfortunately, there is no sure guidebook since every family's situation will be different. The only universal truth to this scenario is that this problem must finally be dealt with. In such circumstances, it is likely that a law firm that has dedicated its practice to Elder Law and myriad issues that face seniors will be a great place to begin to formulate a permanent 'fix'. Elder Law Attorneys should be consulted to ensure the protection of the elder parents, especially if financial elder abuse is suspected.
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Reference: Forbes (September 16, 2012) “What Siblings Need to Do About Aging Parents and The Family Freeloader