More and more parents are moving in with their adult children. As nursing home costs continue to rise, some children and their parents find that living together may have certain financial and emotional benefits.
But having a parent move in can be a big adjustment for everyone, and it is important to be prepared. Preparations can range from making physical adjustments to the house to figuring out finances.
Here are some things to think about:
• Consider the financial details. If the adult children have siblings, the question of whether the siblings are going to contribute to the parents’ room and board can be sensitive. Even if there are no siblings, there is still the question of whether and how much the parents can or should contribute to the household. An extra mouth to feed can be expensive. It can get even more costly if major renovations or a home health care worker are required.
Should the parents have a contract in which they pay the children for caring for them? If the parents contribute to remodeling the house, should they gift their portion of the house to the children, retain an interest, or put it in a trust? These and other decisions can affect the parents’ eligibility for Medicaid if it becomes necessary for the parents to enter a nursing home at some point.
To avoid fostering resentment and guilt among family members, it is best to work out as many of these details as possible before the big move. An experienced elder law attorney can help your family create a plan that takes all the various contingencies into account, so that everyone is prepared for the move.
• Evaluate whether the home is senior friendly. Whether putting in an addition or just fixing up a spare bedroom, adjustments may have to be made to accommodate the parent or parents. Such adjustments may include replacing doorknobs with levers, checking railings to make sure they are sturdy, installing grab bars in the bathroom, or putting non-slip backings on rugs.
More significant changes may include converting a room on the first floor into a bedroom, widening doors to allow a wheelchair or walker to pass through, or installing ramps.
In addition to such accommodations, the space may be personalized for the parents.
• Look into a tax deduction. When considering the financial details of the new arrangement, keep in mind that the children may be able to claim the parents as a dependent and get a tax deduction if they provide more than half of the parents’ support during the year.
• Learn where to go for help. If family members are serving as caregivers, they don’t need to feel like they are doing so all alone. There a number of services that are designed to help caregivers. From home health care workers to meals programs and transportation services to adult day care centers and respite services, there are a number of different ways to get help.
Contact an Area Agencies on Aging program in your state to find out the services in your area. In addition, a number of resources are available to provide caregivers with information and support.
For more information, contact an experienced elder law attorney.