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Commentary
August 17, 2011

Sharing the Financial Responsibility of Caring for Parents

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.

JAMA. 2011;306(7):760-761. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1173

The experiences of the “M” family described by Ritchie et al1 in this issue of JAMA are the topic of conversations among many baby boomers coping with aging parents who can no longer manage to live on their own. Although assisted living facilities or continuing care retirement communities are attractive options for individuals who recognize that they are slowing down, such options are paid for out of pocket; those who cannot afford them can either receive unpaid help from family or friends, pay for in-home care of which only a portion may be covered by insurance, or enter a nursing home and spend down to Medicaid—at great cost to the government and taxpayers. Encouraging aging adults to remain in their homes or live with their families would seem desirable from an individual and societal perspective.

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