Family caregivers provide unpaid care for millions of dependent Americans, many of whom are elder adults. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, the average age of a dependent care recipient is 69.4 years old, and nearly half of all informal care recipients are over age 75. A key question for loving family members, this National Family Caregiver Month, is whether to have aging dependents move in with them.
Safety concerns and cost efficiencies might make such moves seem appealing, but adult children should first determine if they are capable of meeting their elder parent’s needs. If they require only minimal care, such as assistance with meal preparation, dressing and transportation, then moving in might make sense.
If an elder relative is ill or disabled, however, perhaps with dementia or a medical condition requiring nursing care, then well-meaning adult children may be unqualified to help. This may only invite problems to an already demanding situation. Make sure to ask an aging relative’s doctor about his or her needs, while keeping in mind that any existing concerns are likely to increase over time.
Another consideration is the nature of your relationship. In other words, do you get along and is it emotionally feasible to live together under the same roof? You may want to care for an elder adult, you may feel obligated to do so, but it is more important to ensure the best quality of life for everyone involved, including members of your own family.
Practical considerations are also important. For example, can your home accommodate another person. To dive into this further, can your home accommodate a person with specific needs? Will the existing layout need adjustments? Renovations? Can your home support certain medical equipment?
Mounting expenses might require reimbursements or an allowance from the elder parent’s financial resources. Assuming other family members are in agreement, an estate plan could be crafted or updated to reflect the new caregiving dynamic. For instance, a power of attorney document could be created to allow for bill payments, groceries, and other items to be paid on the dependent parent’s behalf.
Other financial and health care arrangements could also apply and you may want to discuss your situation with an elder law attorney before moving forward. We encourage you not to wait to get the answers you need to your questions. You may contact our law practice to schedule a meeting with attorney Anné Desormier-Cartwright to obtain the guidance you need for yourself and your loved ones.