Sunday, October 17, 2021

How To Handle Two Care Arrangements For Aging Parents

A guest post from Annabelle Harris


If your parents are still living but one is showing signs of aging faster than the other, you may be concerned that they’ll no longer be able to safely reside by each other's side. Unfortunately, this happens in cases where one parent is younger or healthier than their spouse. However, there are a few ways to make the transition into separate living arrangements easier for everyone. Here, we cover a few topics that can help you as you help your aging parents make a life-changing decision.


Budget Considerations


One of the first things that you must consider is their budget. Can your aging parents afford for one to live in their current home and another to move to assisted or nursing care? If the answer is no, there are options. The first is to help them take out a reverse mortgage; the second is to sell their home so that they can move into a senior community with multiple care levels available.


Taking out a reverse mortgage is a process where the bank essentially buys equity while your parents are still alive and still live in the home. If one must move to more hands-on care arrangements, the other can stay at home without a mortgage. They receive a monthly payment, which can be used to cover nursing care for the other spouse. According to the FTC, the spouse remaining in the home must continue to pay taxes, maintain the home, and keep an active homeowners insurance policy.


Selling the home outright may be an option for those that can move into a CCRC (continuing care retirement community). This is a senior-oriented living arrangement that can change over time without having to move to a new location. A CCRC may start out as independent living and allow the residents to seamlessly move into assisted and then memory care without additional fees. Both parents may live together while one receives more hands-on assistance than the other. This is an expensive arrangement, and you will need to understand your loved one’s assets, including how much home equity they have. To calculate this correctly, check the current market value of the property against the mortgage balance.


Practical And Emotional Concerns


Chances are, if one of your parents is transitioning into nursing care, the other has been the primary caregiver for many years. Taking this labor of love off of them can be emotional, and your loved one may feel no longer needed. Although they likely felt anxious and exhausted through the process, losing these responsibilities can make them feel as though their “better half” has moved on. Remind the healthier parent that they are still needed, and that the reasons behind them no longer providing hands-on care are so that they can care for themselves. If one parent has moved into Alzheimer’s or dementia care, you can involve your other parent in deciding on treatment choices such as memory training, psychotherapy, and medication.


Practical issues to consider are when, how, and where your parents will get to interact. It might be best for as many family members as possible to visit as often as possible for the first couple of weeks. The Family Caregiver Alliance explains that outings, such as to lunch or dinner, might not be a wise idea in the early days, particularly if their memory issues are significant. It takes work, but, eventually, both parents will adjust to their new living arrangements. It will also help if you visit the non-institutionalized parent often so that they are not wracked with loneliness.


When only one parent needs a helping hand, deciding on how to handle two living arrangements is a challenge. However, there are many hurdles associated with aging, and this is just one. Take solace in knowing that you have options for both parents that may keep them together. And, if they can no longer share a bed, there’s no reason they can’t share a visit to keep their bonds as strong as ever.



Image via Pexels

Thanks for these great tips Annabelle!

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