Are one or both of your parents having health problems, suffering mental lapses, or just slowing down with age? Do you find they can’t manage on their own anymore? If so, you’ll want to consider the various living arrangements that are available to older individuals. Before you begin, however, you’ll want to talk to your parents and siblings. If your parent is suffering from a cognitive disorder, you may also want to consult an attorney and social worker.
Sometimes the best option is to have your parents move in with (or closer to) you. That way, you avoid having to use your parents’ assets (or your own) to pay for a nursing home or other facility. You won’t have to worry about your parents potentially receiving inadequate care from strangers. And your parents will probably appreciate the gesture of love and self-sacrifice on your part. However, the cost of feeding, clothing, and caring for your parents can be high, especially if you’re forced to give up a job to be home with your parents. And don’t underestimate the emotional and psychological impact. I am reminded of the advice I received from pre-marriage counselors many years ago before I got married. The couple urged us to give serious thought before having a family member move into one’s home. “Adding a person, no matter how loved, will change your home”, they said.
What if your parents’ care is more than you can handle? You may then wish to consider some type of assisted-living arrangement. The broad term “assisted living” encompasses a range of facilities and services designed to help seniors who can’t live independently. The assistance provided may be short- or long-term and may focus on social services, medical care, or some combination of the two. Depending on your parents’ conditions and needs, one or more of the following assisted-living arrangements may be worth considering:
• Nursing homes • Assisted-living communities
• Continuing care retirement communities • Alzheimer’s/dementia care specialty facilities
• Retirement communities • Active senior communities
• Home health care • Hospice care
• Adult day-care services
See next week’s blog about how to choose the right facility for your loved one. Don’t be afraid to talk to a social worker, your parents’ physicians, accountant or wealth advisor. They can offer you support, and recommend solutions that best meet your parents’ financial, health and emotional needs.