Whilst most everyone knows that aging can be an expensive process, not everyone knows that there are options available. Senior care homes are a well known option but, unfortunately, few can afford care in a quality center, as the average price-per-day is $250 (that’s over $90,000 for one year!). Due to the soaring cost of professional, in-patient care, many children of the elderly are now searching for more frugal options, one of which is to invite their parent(s) to stay in their home with them. Thanks to the accessibility of online home healthcare equipment supplies, it’s becoming easier all the time to care for mom and dad at home. However, there will always be associated costs that even the best and most frugal planner may forget when budgeting to move their parent into their home. Here are five of them:
The Future: Before moving a parent into one’s home, it’s important to sit down and have a conversation about both present and future costs. Take inventory of a parent’s doctors and medications and estimate the cost of those treatments over the course of a year or so. Although difficult, it may also be important to talk about a parent’s existing conditions and the likelihood of deterioration or associated risks so that an emergency fund (for hospital bills or nursing home room and board, etc.) may be budgeted into the plan.
The “Obvious”: Before mom and dad moved in, it was a guarantee that the lights, fans, television, appliances, heating and air were off whilst the homeowners were at work. Post-move in, however, expect the respective bills to rise in cost as the home is not likely to be empty for much of the day. Additionally, if mom or dad needs an oxygen machine or some other bariatric medical supply which uses electricity, it can be expected that that, too, will add to the bills. Be sure to have a conversation about energy usage, or look into replacing some items in the home with more energy efficient versions.
Mobility: If mom or dad has trouble getting around on their own, there will need to be a budget for their mobility aids. Whether this includes a walker, scooter, wheelchair (electric or traditional), lift, or shuttle service/taxi, it’s important to be aware of what it’ll cost to get them around and out of the house. Many senior centers provide shuttle services, and some taxi companies may be willing to make a long-term agreement for service.
Additional Help: If one is unable to be around during the day to help, it may be a good idea to hire professional help. On average, professional in-home care for the elderly costs about $20 an hour, and that can include feeding, bathing, help with dressing, or simple companionship. If mom and dad have health issues that require punctual medication or if they are incontinent and would need help cleaning themselves up, there are professionals out there who are trained in administering medication, using incontinence supplies for men or women, and in providing emotional support during difficult days.
Lost Work Hours: Even if one is considering hiring additional help or having mom and dad out at the senior center during the day, one will probably have to take time off of work when they first move in. If one also plans on taking time off for important doctor appointments or treatments/therapies, it’s important to first understand that this time away from work, although important, may cause a loss or decrease in wages. Be sure to prepare for these days and to save where one can in order to accommodate.
Although the conversations and budgeting will be difficult in process, there is invaluable comfort in knowing that one’s parents are being cared for properly and affectionately. There may be growing pains and financial struggles before a routine and solutions are found, but having an elderly parent live at home when they need one’s help and love the most will compensate tenfold.