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Taking care of mom with some help from the tax code

I am officially old. OK, dear hubby who's a year older than I, how's this? Time is marching on at bit more rapid pace.

I've become more aware of this temporal inevitability over the last couple of months as I've helped my mom relocate. Since I've been grown, we've lived apart anywhere from 135 or so miles while I was in college to almost 1,300 miles when the hubby and I were in Florida.

Now, Mom and I are just 50 miles from each other.

The good news is that she's just about an hour away. The bad news is that she's just about an hour away. But she likes her new place and I'm having fun helping her get settled.

Seeing her more regularly, though, has made it clear that neither of us is getting any younger.

Generations_cruphoto_iStockPhoto by Cruphoto/iStock

Don't get me wrong. Mom's still in great shape. Heck, she buys healthier food than I when we grocery shop!

And she's still able to take care of herself and her little dog.

But seeing her in her new retirement community drives home the fact that one day she'll need more than just my advice on where to hang a picture or what outfit she should wear to the senior center dance.

And in the coming years, I'll probably be spending more on her than simply buying a knickknack for her apartment that she liked but didn't feel comfortable spending her own fixed income on.

One day, my mom, like the ever-growing number of aging parents across America, likely will become my dependent.

When the care tables turn: That's not an appealing thought for either of us. But time and its persistent passing tends to make hard decisions like this for us.

When that happens, if the tax laws haven't changed by then, I'll definitely look to what help the hubby and I might be able to get from the tax code.

Right now, there's more assistance there than you might think. Tax help for an aging parent,  today's Daily Tax Tip, looks at the issue of when children become caregivers for their folks.

Some tax things to think about include:

  • Financial help for a parent,
  • Their living arrangements,
  • How to claim mom or dad as a tax dependent,
  • Sharing parental costs with siblings, and
  • Medical expenses you help cover.

If you're in my demographic, check it out. It could help you plan for the day when mom or dad need a bit more help.

And if you're a bit younger, bookmark it. Trust me. You'll eventually need this information.

Meanwhile, enjoy your folks. True, regardless of your age, you'll always be the kid. And yes, moms can push your buttons; after all, they installed them.

But I've found that with age, both mine and my mom's, I've gained a bit more perspective and patience. And I am enjoying having my mother, for the first time since I was a teenager, living nearby.

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