According to agingoptions.com, the number of aging parents living with adult family members is rising dramatically, with between five and six million elderly adults currently living in a household headed by their adult child. This is a 67 percent increase since 2007. While such a living arrangement is often due to economic considerations, others simply have a strong desire to care for those who cared for them. There are many issues to consider when an elderly loved one moves in; one of those issues is making your home accessible. While the specific upgrades you undertake will depend on the health and needs of your loved one, some of the top home renovation suggestions for seniors include:
Elder law plays a vital role in estate planning. Outside of specific elements it addresses, it also focuses on taking care of people during retirement and making sure benefits need for late-in-life care are prepared. In our infographic, learn more about what elder law does and when you should get started.
Estate planning requires some tough conversations and occasionally involves thinking about worst-case scenarios for you or your loved ones. That’s why a lot of people treat it like the dentist, something that they know they ought to do but want to keep it out of sight and out of mind.
Planning your estate and the more difficult aspects that come with it can be made even harder by dealing with a chronic illness, whether it’s your own or your spouse’s. If you or your partner have to deal with the sort of chronic affliction that becomes more common with advancing age—such as Parkinson’s, glaucoma or diabetes—or one that’s been a part of your life for some time, your estate plan will need a little extra care and detail.
Partially because of the large number of Baby Boomers advancing through retirement and their senior years, there has been a marked rise in multigenerational households. From the 1980s to the mid-2010s, the number of homes that have more than one adult generation living together under one roof has risen from 12 percent to 20 percent.
Moving your older parents in with you can provide a lot of benefits for both you and them, from not having to shell out for living space at a nursing home or senior facility to being close by in case of any health issues or emergencies. But it can also bring back plenty of the stress that might be familiar from when you were a teenager living under their roof.
There are a lot of aspects to consider/work out before you bring your parents to live with you in your home, ranging from financial concerns to safety issues.
Wide-ranging financial implications
Moving your parents in doesn’t mean you have to charge them rent necessarily, but there will certainly be some gray financial areas to be ironed out. Do you have adult siblings? Perhaps there’s some merit to having them pitch in on the cost of supporting your parents since you’ll be housing them under your roof.
Or maybe your parents will insist on paying their ways, such as any medical care or even offering you payment for their room and board. While that is generous, it’s important to consider how this living situation and any costs they’re shouldering can affect aspects of their estate plan or yours.
For example, are they eligible for Medicaid or trying to qualify for it in the near future? Keep in mind the income and asset thresholds, as well as the potential for monetary gifts to affect eligibility. As uncomfortable or unnecessary as it may seem, entering into a written rental agreement with your parents will ensure that any money they contribute toward their living and well-being under your roof isn’t seen as an uncompensated transfer which could prevent Medicaid eligibility.
Furthermore, how does their living situation affect your estate plan and theirs? Is the house an asset in your name or theirs? What happens if you both spend money on improving it? Will other beneficiaries of their estate plan be upset if your parents spend money on you or your house and change the balance of inheritable assets?
These are all things to talk over in full, both as a family and with your estate planning professional. At Family Estate Planning Law Group, we offer Family Care MeetingsTM as part of our ongoing client care program to help facilitate these kind of conversations. Bring everyone in to talk it out with our team and voice their concerns or questions— together, with you, we’ll fill in the blanks about maintaining the estate plan while being able to meet you and your parents’ needs after they move in with you.
But, also, safety first
While there are a lot of financial ins and outs to examine in this situation, don’t lose sight of why you’re doing this—to give your parents a safe and comfortable living situation with family in their old age. Those mentions of improving or remodeling your home above aren’t just about beautifying the place with the generosity of your parents, it’s also about making necessary improvements to make the home safer for them.
Aging in place has become a more common topic among home builders and remodelers in light of the rise in multigenerational living. Making a home senior-friendly will involve some alterations to prevent slips, trips, falls and other accidents.
You may know enough to install a grip bar for your showers or toilet, maybe add a ramp to your front door, or even install a stair chair. But getting a whole-home inspection will identify elements that may not be immediately apparent, such as loose rugs and slippery areas of hardwood floor or tile, poor lighting for someone with diminished eyesight that can cause bumps and trips, air quality concerns, difficult doorknobs or steps, and much more. Take the time to adapt your home for caring for your parents so that they can be comfortable, happy, and healthy living with you.
Having your parents move in with you can be a very selfless and loving act, but so too can helping them move into senior housing; it ultimately depends on dynamics and finances. Regardless of which direction you choose, at Family Estate Planning Law Group, we can help you navigate how to proceed with either decision. We are experienced in planning for mom and dad and in multigenerational estate plans. Our ongoing client care program enables us to help you navigate the implications of the decisions at no extra cost.
Schedule your complimentary consultation today to learn how we can help you plan your estate and decide the best next steps for you and your aging parents.
A few months ago, we wrote a blog discussing the various resources you can access on the Mass Gov site for elders and caregivers. Yet, as mentioned in a recent blog post, Palliative Care and Making Life More Wonderful, palliative care and end of life planning are an under discussed topic. So, today we wanted to share with you more government resources that you might find useful regarding health care proxies, hospice and palliative care.
Elder law has a bit of an unfair reputation. On one hand, it conjures up images of being old to the point of infirmity. People in or entering retirement can, understandably, think ‘I’m not that old! I don’t need an elder law attorney!’ And on the other hand, pop culture fans may jump to scenes from Better Call Saul and think of elder law as the domain of minor league lawyers protecting nursing home residents from crooked scammers.
But elder law plays a vital role in estate planning. Elements of it include addressing workplace age discrimination and elder abuse. Elder law is a subspecialty that focuses on taking care of you through retirement, making sure you can get the benefits you need for late-in-life care and housing while still protecting the assets you want to pass down to your children and family.
The main goal of an estate plan is to take care of your family and loved ones, and to give you assurance of this. The more thorough your estate plan is, the fewer instances there will be of wondering “do I have this covered?”
Our team at Family Estate Law Planning Group helps families consider the details, even the ones which may not be obvious. If you’ve followed our blog, you may have noticed some of those aspects of estate planning, like outlining end-of-life or life-extending care wishes. Something else that you should include in your estate plan is a set of funeral instructions.
We recently wrote a blog about digital health resources that seniors might consider using, but what if you have recently taken on the role of caregiver for a loved one? This can be daunting, especially since it comes with a lot of information you need to organize. Sunrise Senior Living recently wrote an article, “How to Organize a Senior’s Medical Information”, with tips on how to organize all the medical information and successfully conquer your new role as a caregiver.
According to the 2019 report from the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.8 million American’s have Alzheimer’s. This report also shares that the risk for Alzheimer’s at age 45 is 10.3% for men and 19.5% for woman. It also shared is that, “According to one study using data from the Established Populations for Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly (EPESE), approximately 487,000 people age 65 or older will develop Alzheimer’s dementia in the United States in 2019” (19). The general nature of Alzheimer’s is something most are familiar with, but understanding what it is like caring for a family member who suffers from it is less common.
Last month we discussed the financial costs of caregiving, so I thought this month I would share what it is like to be a caregiver firsthand, and since there are 5.8 million families out there caring for a loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s, I reached out to my mom to get her advice and insight on caring for someone who has this disease. It’s been six years since we lost my grandmother, Ramona, to Alzheimer’s, and my mom, Ann, was one of the primary caregivers for her mother in law.
As parents age, the thought of how they will be cared for will start to cross your mind more and more. As their child you likely feel that you know what’s best for their care and you are who they would be more comfortable with. Caregiving is truly a labor of love and is a way many children give back to their parents after the years of raising they did for you. Yet, as you debate whether you want to be a primary caregiver for your parents versus helping them move into an assisted living community, there are some hidden expenses to consider as discussed in Sunrise Senior Living’s article, “The Hidden Costs of Caregiving”.