Money Matters – Father’s Day: Alternative Living Arrangements
BOSTON (CBS) – What if Dad can no longer maintain his home or comfortably live there because of the stairs or outdated plumbing?
The first thing you need to do is a get buy-in from dad that he wants help with the housing issues. Change is difficult for all of us; now compound that with having lived in a place for 30 or more years.
Can the present housing be adapted so that dad can stay there? Are there services provided through the local Area Agency on Aging that can help dad stay in his home. Would Meals on Wheels help by delivering a week’s worth of dinners?
Can you hire someone to mow the lawn and shovel the snow? Does the house need some remodeling such as adding a bathroom and bedroom downstairs that would make it one floor living for dad?
Does dad move in with you? Do you add an apartment to your home for him? Do you move in with Dad because his house is bigger than yours? There is a growing trend for families to live together. Multi-generational living is becoming mainstream again.
Does dad add an apartment to his house so someone can live there and periodically look in on him in exchange for cheaper rent? Does someone move in with him?
If that fails there are other housing options out there; Assisted Living, Independent Living Facilities or Continuing Care Retirement Communities. These are not nursing home facilities.
These are places where dad can live independently with his stuff with him and if he needs help it is available. Assisted Living facilities especially the ones attached to nursing homes will make sure dad takes his medicine. They also offer dining rooms so dad, who may not know his way around a kitchen, is sure to get 3 meals a day.
According to Genworth Financial’s 2011 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of an Assisted Living facility nationwide is $39,000. In Massachusetts the average is close to $59,000. New England as a whole is far above the national average.
Start your search with the Eldercare Locator to find assistance here in Massachusetts as well as anywhere in the country. The site lists information on services and programs in Massachusetts for elders. They have a great website, www.800ageinfo.com as well as an 800 number to call, 800-677-1116.
The AARP has some good information on alternative housing options and they have an assisted living facility evaluation checklist.
Check with the church or synagogue that dad belongs to, do they manage an assisted living facility? Where do his friends or siblings live? Would he want to be near them?