Maybe it’s the unexpected costs of retirement communities, assisted living facilities, or nursing homes. Or maybe it’s respect for the older generation’s desire to be near family in their twilight years. Whatever the cause, more families are choosing to have mom or dad or another elderly family member move in as that older family member faces greater need for assistance in daily living activities. If you are considering moving an older family member in with you, there are some important things you need to consider beforehand.
With Mom or Dad moving in, you can anticipate some extra expenses, not just financially, but possibly emotionally as well. It’s hard to know what to expect, and you might face costs you didn’t see coming. Having an elderly parent move in with you is a major life event that requires financial and emotional preparation. Here are some unexpected costs of caring for elderly parents to get you thinking about what lies ahead, if you decide to move mom or dad into your home.
Many people don’t think about the modifications they might need to make to their home to welcome an elderly parent. If your parent is living with you long-term, you will want to make him or her comfortable, which might entail adding a new addition to your home, creating a private living space out of a shared area, making accommodations for single-level living if your parent cannot navigate the stairs.
One of the less thought-of aspects is ensuring that your existing space is accommodating to the elderly family member’s needs. Many older people begin to lose fine motor skills. Small household items, such as kitchen utensils, remote controls, and doorknobs, may need to be replaced with larger items so that the family member can continue using them.
You may also need to consider the family member’s mobility needs. Will you need to rearrange furniture to accommodate a wheelchair or walker? Even if a family member does not ordinarily use a walker or a cane, they may still need extra space to avoid bumping into furniture around the house.
Lost Work Productivity
Moving your elderly parent in, helping him or her get acquainted with the area, and checking out activities can all eat into your work week. Expect further loss of productivity if you have to take your parent to run errands, to medical appointments, or to therapy sessions. You can look into senior transportation services if you are unable to take time off from work, but remember to budget for the extra expense.
In-home care can be a significant expense, but unless you are able to take time away from your busy day, your elderly parent might need it. Certain kinds of insurance will cover some or all of the costs, and you might be able to get assistance from certain programs through the VA or other community organizations.
Miscellaneous Household Expenses
The costs of simply having another household member can be unexpectedly high, especially if that member spends most of his or her day at home. You should expect such extra expenses as increased heat and electricity bills, special foods, and personal care products. Remember that elderly parents have special needs, and those needs can be expensive.
Even with insurance, your parent might have steep out of pocket costs for co-pays, prescriptions, mobility aids, supplements, vitamins, and other uninsured medical expenses. For certain conditions, these costs can quickly add up.
As your parent ages, his or her needs will change, too. These changing needs can result in unexpected long-term costs. When your parent’s retirement funds are exhausted or when they face deteriorating health, you might have to consider the staggering costs of long-term care in an assisted living facility or nursing home.
Moving mom or dad into your home could bring up all of the unresolved emotional issues that have not yet been addressed within your family dynamic. This isn’t something to be afraid of, so long as you have the right support. On the contrary, it can be a great opportunity to heal inter-generational wounds that would otherwise be ignored.
Caring for an elderly parent can result in unexpected expenses and unexpected benefits, as well. Now that they are becoming more dependent on you, you might also need to consider making changes to your insurance policies or revising your estate plan. If you are ready to take the step of officially becoming caregiver for mom or dad, meet with us for guidance.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship. Every situation is unique and consultation with an attorney is required before any specific advice can be given.