As the baby-boomer generation reaches retirement and gets older, you may find yourself at a place where you’re considering whether or not the time is right for your parent(s) to move in with you. This presents other questions such as: Is my house ready? Is my family ready? Am I ready? And most importantly: Are my parents ready?
This change can be a beautiful adjustment and opportunity. But everyone needs to be considerate of the changes it will bring and ensure open communication exists. Entering into conversations with empathy and understanding will create a deeper trust. Consider how your aging parents feel and how this change may be very hard to accept emotionally. Considering the number of those currently serving as a family caregiver - you must start thinking about this topic even if your parents are in good health (physically and mentally).
According to estimates from the National Alliance for Caregiving, in a given year, 65.7 million Americans (or 29% of the adult U.S. adult population involving 31% of all U.S. households) served as family caregivers for an ill or disabled relative. The decision to have a parent or parents move in is important and should be made early to help mitigate any unpredictable health or physical changes. The main resources you need to consider are:
These resources will have you compare and contract against a nursing home, other assisted living facilities, as well as access to local senior centers. You may also be considering if another family member could take up this perceived challenging task of living with elderly parents. The living arrangement you determine will likely come with many terms and conditions. Taking the time now to consider the impact on you and your family will help everyone understand how they feel about moving. The long-term care needs will need to consider the 'who' will handle activities of daily living (taking a shower, moving around the home, etc.) should it be required.
It is essential to begin the conversation early with your parents. Although it’s not always an easy conversation to have, it’s important to create an action plan that is agreed upon by your parents beforehand. In general, caregiving results in major changes in a family and physical, emotional, social, and financial issues often arise. Creating a harmonious dialogue between you and your parent(s) early keeps the lines of communication open and set a clear understanding of expectations. This will also allow you to prepare for the type of care your parent(s) will need no matter the situation.
Proper planning will allow you to make spending and budget adjustments within your household. Parents that require care may see cost savings if they move in with their children, depending on the situation. According to a new study conducted by Caring.com, nearly half of family caregivers spend more than $5,000 a year on expenses associated with providing care. Of those spending more than $5,000, 16% are seeing costs of as much as $9,999 while 11% are spending as high as $19,999 and 5% are absorbing out of pocket expenses of as much as $49,999.
In addition, “People in their 50s and 60s are spending a significant part of their money caring for aging parents,” says Caring.com Chief Executive Andy Cohen. “People do a good job of saving for their kid’s college and their own retirement but they don’t know this is coming.”
Coordinate this change with your family and determine who will manage your parent(s) finances, what will happen to their estate, and learn how to manage their property and the new costs you can anticipate. Consult with a financial advisor early and begin saving for these future changes.
Start by asking yourself: is my home designed for this change? Remember, what is normal for you may become extremely challenging for your parent(s). Navigating stairs, bathtubs, handrails, the width of doorways and hallways for wheelchairs become important things to take into consideration. Proper planning of your parent(s) needs will identify and determine what types of assistance they will need, as well as aid you both in time and finances. Renovation costs can be burdensome so plan ahead since even installing an electric stair lift for moving from floor to floor usually runs about $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the manufacturer. Also consider any pieces of property that may accompany your parent(s) with this change and how to accommodate them.
Are you ready and prepared for this change? It is critical to consider the emotional and psychological energy an aging or infirmed parent may require. Consider yourself, your parents, and your children in this decision and involve them from the beginning.
If you decide to suggest this change, be especially mindful of your parents, involve your entire family, and encourage everyone to ask questions throughout the process. If you and your parent(s) decide to move forward with this change you should first identify any needs they may have, consolidate financial and legal documents, keep track of any immediate or potential health needs, and finally complete the initial assessment checklist to create your action plan.