How to Care for Your Aging Parents at Home: The Top 4 Tips You Need

As parents age, their adult children may face developing needs for in-home care. Some individuals develop issues that preclude them from living alone, and their adult children may have them move into their own homes. This process takes preparation on both the part of the parent and the adult child. Let’s consider how to avoid the costs of a nursing home and, instead, have elderly parents reside with their offspring.

1. Prepare Your Home

Nursing homes and assisted living centers offer a costly alternative. For example, in New Jersey, a semi-private room costs about $11,000 per month, according to Porzio Planning. Readying your own home for your parent typically costs much less than that. Add grab bars to bathrooms and decorate a first-floor bedroom to provide easy access around the room and to and from the rest of the house.

Install a ramp to make coming and going from the home easy. Also, add handrails to any porches or decks. If your parent needs medical devices that require electricity, you may need to hire an electrician to add a 240-volt outlet to the individual’s bedroom.

2. Plan for Help in Caregiving

Caregiving help refers to physical assistance and financial assistance. Research local groups that provide trained caregiving volunteers and for-pay services, such as home healthcare. Register with these programs, so you can look out for your own well-being while helping your parents. Some of these programs offer ride-sharing, so a parent who lost their driver’s license can still attend events independently.

Also, research federal, state, and local programs that offer financial assistance for renovating the home to suit the elderly person’s needs. Apply for any for which you qualify. This helps alleviate some of the financial burdens of getting the home ready. According to the New York Fed, about 71% of combined household debt in early 2022 consisted of mortgages, so use programs that let you avoid adding debt.

3. Prepare Your Legal Paperwork

Check with your parent about their estate planning and consider your own. Comprehensive estate planning consists of six areas:

  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Beneficiary Designations
  • Guardianship Designations
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Healthcare Power of Attorney

One or both of you may need to update your estate plan due to changing circumstances.

Consider establishing a trust, so your parents’ care would continue if something happened to you and your spouse. Each adult in the household should file a Durable Power of Attorney and a Healthcare Power of Attorney. The adult offspring will need to file guardianship designations for their children under the age of 18 years and for their elderly parents.

4. Stowing Their Stuff

When parents move in with their adult offspring, they typically sell their existing home. What do they do with their furniture, though? Some individuals sell it in a garage or yard sale, or at auction. Others put most of it in storage, bringing with them only a few pieces that they can’t live without.

Moving Your Elderly Parent into Your Home

You can prepare your home for the elderly parents in your family by renovating it to offer easier access and to operate medical equipment. Prepare yourself for the changes by locating local assistance, such as home health care, so you do not have to do everything yourself. Apply for federal, state, and local grants to update the house for safety. Make having a parent move into your home easier by addressing their needs and concerns, plus your own, providing them with as many empowering options as possible, so they retain their dignity.

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