The following is an article from the February 2017 issue of "Get Your Ducks in a Row" Carolina Family Estate Planning's free newsletter. You can read the rest of the issue, as well as back issues of our newsletter online at www.carolinafep.com/library/newsletters/ or subscribe for free at www.carolinafep.com/newsletter.cfm
It’s not a question we like to think about, but where would you live if you could not take care of yourself at some point in the future? Or if you’re younger, consider the same question for your parents.
The answer we often hear to this question is “I’m going to stay at home until I die.” If you are going to live at home, how will you be cared for at home? Who will do the caregiving? How will you pay for the care?
Your best chance of staying at home for as long as possible is directly tied to the planning you do now.
Other tough questions to plan for living at home are:
- Is your home set up for a wheel chair or someone who cannot climb stairs? If not, how much it will cost to renovate? How will you pay for the renovation?
- If you cannot live alone, who will care for you? Will one of your children move in? Have you discussed this with them, and have you discussed it with all of your children? A family can be torn apart because one child moves in to take care of a parent, but another child in the family does not agree with how the parent is being cared for in the home. Your wish to stay at home should be documented in your estate planning.
- Will you hire caregivers? Should you pay family members to care for you (especially if it impacts their ability to work outside of the home)? How do you expect to pay for this care? Long-term care insurance or financial products, Medicaid, Veterans benefits, using your personal savings, and a reverse mortgage are all possible options. If you’re unsure which options may be best for you, we can help guide you through that process, just give us a call.
You need to let your family know you have a plan by writing it down. It is perfectly okay to decide that you want to spend every penny you own so you can stay at home—even if you deplete your entire estate. However, if the person managing your health care decisions and your finances does not know your wishes, he or she may decide that some other living arrangement is better for either health or financial reasons.
The other answer to this question involves seniors who cannot live at home. If that is the right choice then some options to consider include an independent apartment in a complex that supplies extra support when needed, senior housing, an assisted living facility, a child or friend’s home, a rest home, or a nursing home.
Just as with living at home, ask yourself: How will you be cared for, how will the care be paid for, and who will do the caregiving? Your plan should include when it is appropriate to be moved out of your home if you are not capable of communicating your wishes, and your preference where you would like to live if you cannot live at home.
I hope this article has been of some help to you as you do your planning.