Your parents were there for you when you began life; they helped you to take your first tentative steps and supported you with encouragement through adolescence. Even into adulthood, they were there to offer advice and assistance.
Many years later, the roles have reversed. Mom and Dad are relying on you more and more, and they need your help in making the decisions that come along with growing older. You want to help them to age gracefully, assisting them in meeting their needs while also allowing them to retain as much independence as possible. It’s a balancing act, but these five tips can help:
1. Medicaid Planning
For those without significant wealth, Medicaid planning is an important concern. Without planning in advance, assisted living or nursing home costs could drain your parents’ savings and leave them with a low quality of life. Plan at least five years ahead to help your parents qualify for Medicaid coverage so that they will have money left over to spend on life’s pleasures.
2. Tax Planning
Irrespective of how much money they have right now, some sound professional tax planning is typically a smart idea. Doing so will help them to preserve their assets and pass on as much as possible to relatives, friends or chosen charities rather than giving it over to estate taxes. The laws change often and also vary state to state, this is an area where using a professional is advised.
3. A Medical Alert System
A medical alert system can allow your parents to maintain a high quality of life and autonomy at home for a longer period of time. The system allows them to put off moving into a managed care facility, since they will have immediate access to emergency assistance should an issue arise. This type of service is critical due to something called “the Golden hour”; if an injured senior receives care within the first hour after they have fallen, there is an 80% chance of complete recovery.
They will wear a small waterproof pendant or wrist band, which also includes a microphone for speaking to a live operator. The operator has all client details like name, address, phone number, and emergency contact. They will act as an on-call intermediary between the client and emergency services, giving both you and your parents peace of mind.
4. Trust Planning
No matter what type of financial situation your parents have, a Living Trust could be a viable financial planning strategy. Their assets are placed in the Trust and they will manage it as long as they are able. They can name whoever they wish as Successor Trustee so that the framework is in place for a capable successor to take over the reins when they need help managing their finances. A Trust is flexible in that control can be given back to your parents at any time if their health improves.
5. Long-Term Care Insurance
Long Term Care is required for chronic illnesses and can be delivered in a care facility or in the home. A nurse will assist the senior with whatever they need throughout the day. Long-term care insurance can substantially lessen the financial impact should such care be required. When considering this type of insurance, think about:
- Type of coverage – Nursing home, home care or both?
- During the day or round-the-clock care?
- Should coverage begin immediately upon need, or will some expenses initially be paid out-of-pocket?
- How long should coverage last?
Services can include:
- Nursing home care
- Assisted living services
- In-home aid with bathing, dressing, help with eating and cleaning of the home
These are just some of the things to consider ahead of time to ensure a smooth, graceful transition for both you and your parents as they grow older. Start preparing now, and your parents’ golden years will be peaceful and stress-free.