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Affording Care for an Aging Parent

Personal Finances Estate Planning

Arranging for senior care can be quite a challenging task. Not only is it often emotionally draining, but also expensive. This is especially true when the aging parent requires senior living with additional personal care, such as the services of a residential care home, assisted living community, or a memory care provider.

Countless families often find themselves caught in the dilemma of having too much income and assets to qualify for Medicaid, and therefore have to pay for senior care out of their own pockets. If you are in such a situation, don’t give up on finding affordable options for assisted living. 

Here are some approaches you may want to mindfully explore to help find quality and affordable care for your aging parent:

Research and Evaluate Your Options

The first important step is to research the various options for senior care at your disposal and evaluate their affordability. You can either decide to care for your parents at home or seek professional help for them at a nursing home or assisted living facility. Find out what the costs of caring for your parent at home would be, which may include tasks such as modifying the stairs and showers to allow for wheelchair access. It may also include hiring a caregiver, either part-time or full-time.

You'll also want to research the costs associated with moving your parent to a full-time care facility and decide if it's a better option than caring for them at home. 

Search Beyond Your Local Area 

When looking for affordable care for your aging parent, you might want to think about a different location other than your local area. The cost of assisted living varies with location, just as it does with other types of housing. Consider moving your parent out of state to another locality that fits your budget and is still easily accessible, perhaps closer to another sibling or relative. 

Tap Into Local Community Programs For Seniors

If your parent is aging and needs help with transportation and household tasks, but not necessarily medical care, a good option is to look into community-based programs. In most areas, it is common to find local community programs that offer care services to seniors for free, or at a low rate for individuals who qualify. Such programs may provide assistance on things such as transportation, household chores, and other day-to-day items that may be difficult for some seniors. This can significantly help reduce the costs of care for your parent but also prevent them from needing full-time, costly care. 

Consider Room Sharing 

In almost all types of senior living, shared spaces are more cost-effective than renting out a single room or apartment. Research the costs of individual vs. shared rooms, and make a decision based on the option that best fits your needs and budget.

Explore Veterans Benefits

If your aging parent served in the armed forces at one time, he or she may be eligible for veteran benefits to cover the cost of assisted living through the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). The Aid and Attendance Benefit from the VA provides financial assistance for veterans and surviving spouses who are housebound or need the help of another person to assist in everyday functions such as bathing, eating, dressing and undressing or taking medication. The Aid and Attendance benefit includes care received in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, or at home, and it applies to persons who are blind.1

1Department of Veterans Affairs