The Boomerater™ Report: Week Ending Feb 8

Add Your Voice to Our Weekly Advisory of Useful Tips for Boomers

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We launched The Boomerater™ Report last week--our collaboration with Boomerater.com, the online Q&A website for Baby Boomers. Each week, we will feature a selection of helpful tips and advice from Boomerater’s collection of financial, consumer and lifestyle content. We also want to hear what’s on your mind, so go to Boomerater and add your questions. You may even see it featured next week on The Best Life!

Last week we asked readers to share their experiences with multi-generation households. Here are two responses:

A. After my daughter's divorce she and her young son moved in with me. It worked well for all of us. Then she met the man she would marry. Shortly before the wedding, her fiance learned he was being transferred to Cincinnati, Ohio. I couldn't imagine living across the country from my only child and grandchild. I was delighted when my daughter and son-in-law asked if I would like to live with them.

I sold my home and chipped in on the cost of their new house so they could get something a little bigger, with a separate "suite" for me. It has worked out very well. With the money I saved on my house, I am helping pay household expenses, property taxes, and starting a college fund for my grandson. I pitch in every way I can. I pick my grandson up at school and watch him while my daughter's at work. I also am his soccer coach. I used to play cards with my grandparents whenever they visited, and we've followed the same tradition.

I know it doesn't work out this well for all families. You have to have a clear understanding up front and be willing to be flexible.

A. My mom moved in recently (her property taxes were raised, and her investments tanked). Initially there were some issues because we only had room for her on the second floor, so we had to buy her a stair lift. That was fine but it’s been a challenge for the family to adjust. Mom is pretty outspoken regarding how we raise our teenage daughter. It's great that my wife and mom get along OK, and that my daughter is pretty resilient.

So my only concern is what happens when Mom has health issues that make it hard for us to care for her?

And here’s advice on hiring a caregiver for a loved one:

Q. We need to hire a caregiver for my father-in-law. He is not ready to leave his home to go to assisted living. He cannot drive and has some memory issues. Does anyone have tips on the best way to go about getting quality care?

A. Use a reliable agency and get references. Also make sure the hours, responsibilities, etc., are all in writing, and go over the list thoroughly with the caregiver and agency. You might even want a lawyer to draw up a letter of agreement. AARP lists questions you should ask and has links that include resources for agencies.

A. And when you get the references, make sure to call them yourself with prepared questions about the candidate. Also, once you have hired someone, I suggest you stop in unannounced at different times of the day. That will give you a chance to see first-hand the kind of care he's getting. If you don't live near him, ask a friend or neighbor to check in, at least during the first few months.

The Best Life question of the week is below…Go to Boomerater.com to share your thoughts, and in the next report we’ll share some of the best responses.

What has to happen for you to feel better about the economy and your future? With consumer confidence at record lows, what will make you perk up?