Elder Law

Nursing Home and Long-Term Care Alternatives

Figuring out living and care arrangements for an aging parent or loved one is always challenging. Look at alternatives to nursing home or long-term care before making a big change. Find the best fit for your family's finances and your loved one's lifestyle and needs.

Get Help and Stay Put

While an elderly person may firmly resist in-home help, try to talk him or her into accepting help with maintaining his or her home and getting daily chores done. Everyday tasks can easily lead to a life-changing accident, such as a fractured or cracked hip. Decide what someone can do for himself or herself and get help with the rest.

Provide Financial Management

Help your aging relative manage financial tasks; this includes everything from paying the utilities and property taxes to reviewing medical bills and insurance statements. Make sure you have the legal authority to provide help, and use legal instruments such as a power of attorney.

Downsize

A senior citizen might not be able to handle his or her single-family home any longer, or might not feel comfortable living alone. A condominium or townhouse can be a good fit, and allow him or her to remain independent longer with a ready-made community and the security of shared walls and common areas.

Relocate

Consider moving your loved one to an area where you and other family members can readily provide help. While someone might resist being uprooted, relocation can be the make-or-break factor when an adult child has to balance work and child-rearing responsibilities with helping an aging relative.

Have Your Relative Move In

This option isn't for everyone. However, returning to the multi-generational households of the past can work. Suburban homes are larger and allow for adding a "mother-in-law suite," not to mention possible emotional and financial windfalls offered when households are combined.

Questions for Your Attorney

  • Can you draft a power of attorney that gives me legal authority to manage my elderly parents' finances?
  • Can you draft an agreement that allows someone to help my mother with household tasks in exchange for living rent free in her home?
  • If my mother moves in with us and pays us rent, do we have to report the payments as income on our taxes?

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