Have you considered having an elderly parent move in with you? Many people face this decision because of financial circumstances or because their parents need assistance with daily activities. Living with an aging parent can provide an opportunity to reconnect in a positive way but it also demands life style changes. Proper planning can make the difference in ensuring that this transition is smooth.
- Communication is key. When adult children of elderly parents think about how they intent to care for them, it is important to broach the subject with their parents early on to gauge their feelings. There are situations in which older people in which older people do not want to face the fact that they need help and may be resistant to leaving their home or accepting the care they need. However, even in these cases, any accommodations that can be made to the parents’ own preferences will make the transition easier for everyone.
- Advance planning is crucial, especially regarding financial matters. Remodeling may be necessary to make one’s home senior-friendly. For instance, if changes need to be made to permit wheelchair access or to add or remodel a bedroom or bathroom, then these costs need to be planned for. If part of the plan is to rely on proceeds from the sale of the parents’ home, then this too requires arrangements to be made well advance.
- What types of care are covered? It is important to consider what care one’s parents may need as they grow older, and how to pay for it. When making the decision to have an elderly parent move in to one’s own home rather than an assisted living facility or nursing facility, one needs to consider whether an in-home caregiver will need to be hired. If so, that cost needs to be included as one considers the financial planning aspect of the move. Is there a long-term care insurance policy? What Medicare or Medicaid coverage is in place? Take the time to learn what type of care may or may not be covered. Do not assume that providing care oneself is the least expensive option. Time taken away from work and incidental care-giving costs can add up and needs to be planned for.
- Communicate with Siblings. It is important to communicate with siblings regarding the cost of care. If an elderly parent is moving in with one sibling, then there should be clear communication with the other siblings about how they intent to contribute to their parents’ care.
Caregiving has financial and emotional costs that may not be recognized by others if they are not expressed. In addition to getting help from one’s siblings, if possible, adults caring for elderly parents should take full advantage of any services that are available to seniors and their caregivers in the area.
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