Monday, June 23, 2014

Planning for Your Parents’ Elder Care Costs

When it comes to planning for elder care, Durham families should start considering arrangements early on. Preparing for the costs of your parents’ care services needs advance attention. But with sufficient planning, families can budget wisely and successfully provide care for their aging parents and their needs.
First, consider the many different ways you could deliver care to your parents. Many older adults are aging in place. They are upgrading their homes and designing them to make life easier and more suited to their changing mobility. Other parents are moving in with children or relatives where family can provide senior care themselves or through a trusted home care service. The third common option is to help your aging parent or parents move into an assisted living facility. 
Consider what works best for your parents. They may need more supervision or they are able to thrive with maximum independence. However, you may need to still fund some or all of the costs of care. Consider each of these ideas and if they are relevant, helpful, or feasible for you and your parents’ individual situations.
Plan in advance. If necessary, consider creating a legal document to designate yourself or another family member as having “power of attorney.” This will allow a person to authorize decisions if a parent experiences memory loss or severe illness.
Get expert advice on improving your savings. Your employer may offer financial planning assistance. If not, you may also be able to contact an independent financial planner or credit union. Getting expert investment advice can help you start preparing in advance, allowing you to better support your parents later.
Learn more about insurance. Insurance can come in handy when financing senior living or care. Reach out to your employer or conduct your own research to learn more about insurance plans that may be able to help offset the cost. 
Think before quitting a job to support a parent. Having more time to help out a parent may not be feasible, considering lost income. It could also hinder your own retirement savings. If you did choose to leave your job, how easily could you find new employment in the future? Consider if your job skills would still be enticing for employers if you had a gap in employment.
Learn if you would lose helpful benefits if you quit. Your health insurance may no longer be provided if you left your job. You may also lose life insurance, long-term care policies, or employee disability. Rather than leaving your job, explore your employer’s family leave or flextime policies. They may allow you to still spend time with your parents while also retaining your employment status.
Develop a caregiving budget. Prior to making a big life change that could come with financial setbacks, develop a comprehensive budget. Consider what you will need to spend on caregiving to help keep your parents safe and healthy. Write out a list of your parents’ own resources, and see how they might be used to help support caregiving.
Explore low-cost or free public benefits. You may be able to receive assistance in paying for or getting help with caregiving. The National Council on Aging offers a benefits checklist, and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging offers lots of helpful information on caregiving, in addition to a location service that helps you find your nearest office.
Do your own research. One of the best ways to plan ahead is to take charge over your own financial future. As early as possible, start conducting your own research, reaching out to resources, and learning as much as you can. The more options you know about, the better you will be able to make sound decisions that can help you and your parents as they age.


  1. I really like your tips: plan in advance and do your own research. I think it's important to be prepared, because accidents can happen so fast. My mother was in a car accident luckily there was no serious damage. That was when we decided to prepare in case she or my dad had some sort of accident.

  2. I completely agree with your tips. I think what's helped me most has been research. When my parents started to need more intensive care, I felt like I had no idea what options or possibilities I had. Now that I've looked into home care, senior care, or having them live with me I feel like I can weigh all of my options more intelligently.

    Jenn |