Steps in choosing senior housing
Determine what level of care is needed: Most housing choices are driven by the care requirements of an elderly parent. Can the senior take care of most of their personal needs, but would enjoy having meal, laundry, and housecleaning services? Would medication management,
an emergency response system and on-premise nursing provide the family with more peace of mind? Does the parent need assistance with bathing, grooming, and dressing? Are there concerns about memory issues? A senior’s needs will change over time. Your SRES® can refer you to a geriatric case manager who can help you determine the types of care needed.
Examine financial resources: Housing and long-term care costs can tap most or all of a senior’s savings, and budgeting for them is difficult as needs change. Elder law attorneys and financial planners can help seniors and their families structure their resources to pay for housing and care. They are also experts in Medicare and Medicaid law, and will know which expenses are or aren’t
covered by each program.
Visit senior housing options in your area:
Your SRES® can point you to listing booklets and other resources that categorize local facilities by level of care provided. Visit those that appear to fit your needs. Ask questions and talk with other families visiting loved ones there. Also, check licensing and accreditation for any facilities you are considering.
Issues to Consider
Are all relevant family members aware of the upcoming situation? It’s a good idea to have a family discussion about the decision to sell, prior to signing commitments. Adult children often have strong emotional stakes in the sale. Some family members may not want to say goodbye to the home. A family talk can help prevent later misunderstandings and avoid delays in the process. If the move involves significant downsizing, this may also be a time to bring up property and possessions issues.
Have the tax consequences of a sale been considered?
Selling a home can trigger significant taxation. Capital gains taxes may apply in the event the sales proceeds aren’t used to buy another home. Before listing a home, it’s a good idea to consult a tax specialist or professional financial advisor to determine how a sale will affect your finances. If you don’t have an advisor, your SRES® can provide you with a list of referrals to choose from.
Will an adult child be acting on the behalf of a parent in the sale?
In the event an aging parent is ill or incapacitated, another family member will need authority to make legally-binding decisions with regard to the home. If this is the case, a durable power of attorney document must be in place prior to the incapacity, naming an agent who will act on behalf of the senior.
If family members are assisting a parent in the sales process, has one member been chosen to be the contact in communicating with professionals?
It’s best to have one family member take the lead in communicating with the SRES® and other professionals. Multiple contacts can create confusion and delays.