Long-term care for your elderly mother is out of the question. You firmly believe that it’s your duty to take care of her in the last few years of her life, allowing you to spend more time with them. But there’s another factor: a financial one. Long-term elderly care can be costly.
Once again, you will be living in a multi-generational home. You remember your childhood days when your grandmother lived with you, so you may be accustomed to certain aspects of this new living arrangement that may disrupt parts of your home life.
Key matters to address
It’s transition time, but you and your family can make this situation work. Here are some of the things to consider if you decide to allow an aging parent or parents live with you:
- Discuss finances with your parents: This can be a delicate situation, but you and your parents must be upfront about each other’s financial resources. There definitely will be additional costs associated with this move. Organize their financial documents, too, and consider talking with a financial adviser.
- Provide an independent living space for them: This will provide privacy and space for you and your parents. You can do this a few ways such as converting an extra bedroom, transforming the basement into an apartment-like living quarters, or redesigning a three-season porch to make it a comfortable room.
- Review accessibility needs: If your parents have difficulty getting around, you may have to redesign parts of your home. You may need to build a wheelchair ramp outside. You also may have to purchase a stair-lift or a hospital-like bed. Also, make sure the handrails along the stairs are sturdy.
- Set up a caregiver agreement: This is a contract between you – or any family member who has agreed to provide caregiver services to you parents – and the elderly relative living with you. The agreement will allow you to establish the formal costs of the care provided. Without one, it’s more difficult to gain tax deductions, and your parents could see their Social Security payments shrink.
- Consider renting or selling your parents’ former home: In renting the home, you may be able to recover some of the costs related to someone moving into your home. However, you already have your hands full caring for your parents and may not have a lot of free time. That’s why selling the house is an obvious option. Make sure to work with a leasing agency for the former, and a trusted real estate agent for the latter.
You and your family must have realistic expectations when an aging parent moves into your home. Planning, researching and communicating are important. And don’t neglect to regularly meet with siblings in order to include them with some of the decision-making as well as the care-giving.