By Lee Sherman
When caught between caring for young children and taking care of your aging parents, you may be wondering if it is time to get some help. As people age, they need more care, and it starts at home. Suppose your parents suffer from diminished capacity, a physical disability, or they simply no longer have the energy to take care of themselves? In that case, you may want to consider these options.
Stay at home
The most desirable option for many seniors is to stay in the home they are already living in. While this can be advantageous for seniors with diminished capacities, such as Alzheimer’s (familiar surroundings help with memory), it is less than ideal if the senior in question needs constant attention and help with hygiene and cooking. It can also be expensive as you may need to bring in live-in help or an on-call nurse or care professional or need to remodel your home to accommodate a parent’s disability.
Depending on the need, you can hire a nurse or a home care professional to come to the home for a few hours a week or to live 24/7 with your aging parent. In 2019, the national average for eldercare was $22 per hour, with different state averages ranging from $16 – $29/. Home remodels, which may involve installing railing and ramps, can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Active Adult Communities
Another type of senior living occurs in neighborhoods set aside expressly for older adults. These neighborhoods can include houses, townhouses, apartments, condos, or. mobile homes. In almost all ways, these neighborhoods may resemble the ones you and your folks live in now. Typically, adults must be 55 years of age or older to live in them. These communities serve as a kind of stop-gap between staying at home or entering into assisted living. Seniors live independently, own their homes, and are still responsible for their upkeep (however, they have probably downsized, so it is easier to manage). These communities often include amenities such as a gym, pool, or community center and offer a range of activities.
Adult Day Care
A 2014 study by Ohio State University in conjunction with the National Institute on Aging has shown that adult children who care for their parents, as well as parents who care for chronically ill children, may have their life span shortened by four to eight years. Adult daycare centers can take a lot of the pressure off of you as a caretaker, providing supervision, meals, and both social and recreational activities during the day, with your elderly parent returning home at night. In 2019, the national average was $72 per day, with different state averages ranging from $35 – $136.
Senior living communities provide a mix of community and care that can be beneficial, even if the older person in question is relatively able. Some seniors decide to move into a senior living community because they have lost their spouse and are feeling lonely rattling away in a big house on their own. Or they can no longer take care of the home and complete daily tasks on their own. Senior or assisted living communities take care of these issues and more, providing on-site medical care, food, housing, and activities and, despite the stigma many carry, can help seniors thrive during their golden years. Senior living can be expensive and typically costs around $10,000 a month.
While none of these options are cheap, they are more than capable of providing your parents with the dignity they deserve.
Lee Sherman contributes to MyPerfectFinancialAdvisor, the premier matchmaker between investors and advisors. Lee is an experienced journalist and editor with over 30 years of expertise with a significant history of writing in the personal finance and technology arena.