Laura and Paul Patyk, both in their mid-40s, have a full house. With six children, any home would be a bit crowded. But in 2003, the Patyks invited Laura’s parents to live with them when her mother became ill with congestive heart failure and a stroke. A few years later, Paul’s father, who had Alzheimers disease, moved in after Paul’s mother passed away, bringing the household’s number to 11.
“Every day is an adventure here,” says Laura, “with never a dull moment.”
In the United States and other industrialized countries around the world, individuals and their families are increasingly responsible for securing their own financial well-being. Prior to the 1980s, many U.S. workers relied for their retirement income mainly on Social Security and on employersponsored defined benefit (DB) pension plans.
The decades ahead will produce an inevitable demographic: enormous numbers of mentally and physically frail older people. Some will stay at home with families, but many will require the help and assistance generally associated with assisted living or skilled nursing care.