What To Do When Your Parents Need Different Types of Senior Care

Written by Julia Merril of befriendyourdoc.org

Dr. Stacey Naito of Dr. Stacey Naito’s Blog is a board-certified family practice physician with a wide range of interests that she shares with readers. Read more informative articles today!


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What To Do When Your Parents Need Different Types of Senior Care

As your parents age, they may need help finding senior care or an alternative living situation. When that time comes, you may be faced with an unexpected challenge — figuring out what to do when only one parent needs to move into a nursing home. Dr. Stacey Naito of Dr. Stacey Naito’s Blog explains that by involving your parents and handling the process with compassion, you can create a smooth, loving transition.

Choosing a Nursing Home

The right nursing home is essential for your parents’ comfort, health, and financial stability. As you choose a facility, follow these steps:

  • Verify insurance coverage. Find out how much your parents’ plan will pay each month.
  • Identify appropriate facilities. Find nursing homes that accept your parents’ insurance and fulfill their care requirements. Go online to find the facilities in your area and read up on pricing information, payment options, and reviews. You’ll find nearly 80 assisted living communities in Los Angeles.
  • Determine excess costs. Calculate the extra monthly costs for each facility.
  • Make a short list. Select facilities that fit your budget, care, and location preferences.
  • Read reviews. Look into the reputation, quality of care, and services at each facility.
  • Visit facilities. Bring both of your parents to check out your top 3-5 nursing homes. Look at factors such as cleanliness, activities, and interpersonal relationships.
  • Ask about openings. Find out when a room or bed will open.

Paying for a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility

In the United States, US News & World Report notes that the average room in a nursing home costs more than $100,000 per year. For a shared room, you can expect costs of more than $93,000 per year. Some ways to cover nursing home costs are:

  • Medicaid
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Savings and retirement income
  • Family contributions

Keep in mind that costs can vary significantly between states and cities. If you live in a different city, you might save money by moving your parents to a nursing home near you.

Helping Your Other Parent Downsize

Maintaining a home is a big job; when one parent moves into a nursing home, your other parent may want to move as well. Some options are:

  • Move the parent in with you or a sibling
  • Find a smaller apartment or condo near the nursing home
  • Rent a room in an assisted living facility

When your parents are moving to different places, you’ll need to deal with two moves. A moving company can make the transition easier for everyone; they can handle the packing and the heavy lifting so you can focus on your parents. For safety and security, choose a trusted company by reading moving company reviews online and selecting the best one. Ideally, the moving company you choose has experience with senior moves. 

Providing Compassionate Help to Aging Parents

Moving your parents into separate homes can be emotional and exhausting for everyone involved. As an adult child, DailyCaring points out that all of the stress can make it harder to remain compassionate. To ease the process, you can:

  • Hire a senior move manager. They’ll help with sorting, organizing, and selling belongings during the downsizing process.
  • Take personal time. Make time for your friends and favorite activities.
  • Ask relatives for help. Don’t be afraid to lean on siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
  • Get support. Join a support group to express your emotions in a safe place.

Managing the Senior Care Process

With patience and compassion, you can help both of your parents settle into new homes. Remember to put a lot thought into choosing the right senior living facility, paying for continued care, helping with downsizing, and providing all the care you can. 

Why Long-Term Care Coverage Is Vital

The chances of you being in a position in which you can no longer take care of yourself are staggering. Seventy percent of people over the age of 5 will need some type of long-term care at some point, with 20 percent of them requiring it for a period of more than five years. If you have disability insurance, that doesn’t cover long-term care. I have heard some people grumble about the cost of long-term care insurance, which averages about $2,000 for a healthy, single 55-year old. The policy I have had in place since 2004 has premiums which will total $2,700 for 2017, and the premiums will increase to almost $2,900 next year. However, that’s a fraction of what I would have to pay if I didn’t have the insurance. The Genworth (the company I have my policy under) 2016 Cost of Care Survey reported that median annual cost of an assisted living facility is almost $44,000, and the median monthly cost of a private nursing home room is over $90,000.

I signed up for my policy shortly after my mother suffered from, and survived, a brain aneurysm in 2004. She was in a skilled nursing facility from 2006 until 2013, then was transferred into an assisted living facility. In a way, luck was on her side, because she had no financial resources and qualified for Medicaid and Medicare. She is now a participant in the ALW program. However, the bulk of her monthly Social Security benefit (less than $1,200) goes to the facility in which she resides. In no way was I willing to take the chance of relying on a government agency to rescue me in my elderly years if I find myself in need of long-term care.

I HIGHLY recommend securing long-term care insurance if you are over the age of 30. You cannot rely on the government to come to your aid if you end up requiring long-term care, and it’s unfair of you to expect loved ones to carry the financial burden of your care.