5 Steps to Weaning Dependent Adult Children off Senior Parents
Many families are facing the phenomenon of trying to ensure their senior parents have the best quality of life during their retirement years, yet dealing with the resistance of a dependent Adult Child living with or off of their parent. This dependency is depleting their parents of assets and income that is necessary for their retirement needs and quality of life. Parents are willing to provide for their children even when they know their children should be able to provide for themselves. They do this out of fear of what might happen to their dependent child or what that adult child might do, if they say “no” or no longer provide for their child’s “needs”.
It is a huge roadblock and problem for families to overcome in helping ensure their loved ones can move on and have a better quality of life without the dependency of their children inhibiting them. To help with this process refer to the plan below.
Scenario-Adult daughter helping mother with dependent adult son
- Adult daughter, or someone mother will listen to, needs to have a conversation to get mother to think about “what is going to happen to your son when you pass away”? You need to get her to understand that she is enabling her son to depend on her and that it is not healthy or helpful for either of them. In her enabling him to be dependent on her it is going to hurt him in the long-run, when she, nor her income, is available to him after she is gone. While she is still around she needs to help her son, by weaning him off of her assistance so that he can learn to live emotionally & financially without her.
- Have your mother get some counseling or read some articles or books to figure out why she is allowing her son to be dependent on her and what fears drive her to continue to allow him to be dependent on her. Also, present some resources for the adult son such as counseling, job search options, educational venues and social avenues for him to seek healthy relationships with others his age. Spending time with those his age might motivate him to set goals for himself.
- Once we can get your mother and her son to understand that #1 it’s not healthy or helpful for him to be dependent on her when she will not be around to take care of him forever #2 her quality of life is just as important as his quality of life and she deserves to enjoy her retirement years, then we can begin the next step of the plan for weaning your brother off of depending on your mother.
- Your mother will let her son know that by “X date”, one of the following will need to take place: he needs to have a job or he needs to find a new residence and/or your mother will be moving to a Senior Living Community. It is important to set a date or timeframe that he knows is going to happen. It is to be made clear to him that after this date her resources will no longer be available for him to live on. He will need to find another source of income for his living needs. This timeline is given to him so that he knows he will be responsible for himself and how long he has to plan to provide for himself.
- Ensure that her son will not have access to her finances via checkbooks, debit/credit cards, checking accounts etc. Have her appoint someone Power of Attorney so they can oversee her finances and keep her accountable to not enabling her son financially and making sure he is not gaining access to her finances in some way.