HELPING OUR PARENTS PLAN AHEAD

As your parents age and their health issues increase, they may need part-time or full-time care to manage routine tasks. The type of care you choose together will depend on how involved you or other siblings are, how much your parents can do on their own, and what they are able to afford.

The 3 main options for care are, in-home care, assisted living, or a nursing home. Although budget is an important consideration, financial assistance is often available, so if your preferred option seems too expensive, don’t rule it out before finding out if the cost can be subsidized or covered.

In-home care

In-home care is a very customizable option that can be structured to meet specific needs. Many people prefer to stay in their homes, and your parents can continue to do so for a long time with the right home modifications and assistance.

Options include hiring a home health nurse or helper, having a live-in family member, and paying for certain tasks such as housekeeping or a meal delivery service.

If you can’t afford to hire a geriatric care specialist, you may be able to find one for free by contacting the local federally funded office on aging.

If you are unsure about the specific needs of your parents, consider hiring a geriatric care specialist to evaluate their living environment. The specialist can make recommendations about home modifications that would improve the safety and usability for your parent.

Assisted living

An assisted living community may be a good choice if your parents don’t need full-time nurse care but cannot safely live at home on their own. Assisted living communities have resident assistants and nurses available 24 hours a day and help residents manage daily tasks such as dressing, bathing, and taking medications. It would be a good idea to visit several locations to see exactly how they operate and what level of care they provide.

Nursing home

A nursing home, or skilled nursing facility, is ideal for those with health conditions that require medical treatment or continuous monitoring. It is usually the last option for care because it is the most restrictive and reduces the independent lifestyle of residents.

Nursing homes can be expensive, especially if you are paying out of pocket for a private room. If a nursing home is a necessity and budget is a concern, find out what financial assistance options are available.

Paying for senior care

Even if your parents have money saved for retirement, paying for care over an extended period can be a financial drain. Exploring different options becomes easier if your parents’ income and assets can comfortably pay for their care.

If their income and assets are limited, they may qualify for Medicaid or other programs that can subsidize or pay for the cost of your parent’s care.
Many seniors do not qualify for Medicaid because of their retirement funds, but there are alternatives for paying for care if they need financial assistance. Some options for financing can include:

  • Long-term care insurance
  • Reverse mortgage
  • Veterans benefits
  • Life insurance
  • Dividing expenses & care between siblings
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid