When a loved one grows older, he or she may have difficulty with certain everyday tasks. Many seniors prefer to stay in their own homes as they age instead of moving to an assisted living residence or long-term care facility.
With careful estate planning, you can help your parents remain at home and fund the necessary assistance to stay safe and comfortable.
Look at the finances
Carefully evaluate the cost of maintaining your parents’ existing home. Do they rent or own the property? If they own, do they have a mortgage? How much do taxes and utilities cost each month? In addition to costs, review projected income in retirement and possible benefits such as Medicaid and pension plans.
Consider types of assistance
Everyone ages differently. Some older adults may be quite mobile but struggle with tasks such as cooking, shopping and paying bills. Others may be mentally sharp but need help managing a chronic condition like diabetes. Think about what type of help your parents need and find out what resources are available in your community. The local Area Agency on Aging is a good source for senior programs that could help your family member afford to live independently.
Make sure the home is safe
Some homes may need renovations to remain safe and healthy for older adults. For example, a two-story home might require an elevator lift, or you may need to replace the front steps with a ramp. Consider the cost of these changes when making a financial plan for your parents.
Create a community
Your loved one will need local support to stay active, happy and healthy even when he or she remains at home. If he or she can no longer drive, is public transportation or a ride-share system available? Do friends and family members live nearby? Does the local senior center provide activities and events?
Estate planning services include financial projections and investments along with legal documents such as wills and advance directives. Explore both pieces of the puzzle when thinking about next steps for your older loved ones.