Many times roles become reversed as our parents age, leaving children the responsibility of being the adult. It isn’t easy seeing our parents age but often times the reality is that we have to face the difficult conversations and decisions to move mom from her home in which she lived for decades to a home closer to one of her children, a home which better suits her financial and physical needs or to a retirement community.
Often in times of transition, siblings who have not remained in contact are forced to work together to make decisions in the best interest of mom during a period of time which is inherently emotional and stressful. It is also likely the children will face obstinance from their elder parent who is unwilling to recognize the need for help.
Some tips to manage this transition include:
- Working as a team. All children who will assist in the transition should discuss the options available and their goals and concerns such that there is minimal dissension and the group can act unified to help.
- Legal Documents. It is imperative to ensure that your parent has the necessary estate planning documents which reflect their intent in regards to their medical and financial affairs.
- Downsizing. The longer one has lived in a home, the more personal items they have accumulated over the years. When it comes to moving your elderly parent, it may be a huge task to downsize, requiring countless hours sorting, deciding what to keep, what to give to family members, what to donate and what to trash. While this can be daunting, downsizing over a period of time or hiring specialists in senior downsizing may ease the transition.
- Regular Meetings. Change is problematic enough but feeling like decision-making power is taken away often makes the transition more difficult for seniors. While we may not want to anticipate such situation in the near future, it is smart to keep open communication such that decisions in the best interest of mom can be made when the time comes.
- Finances. Frequently such transitions change the financial circumstances and requirements. It is best to explore various options and to start early if possible to determine which financial resources are available in considering both income and tax planning consideration.
While this transition of finding the right alternative housing for an elderly parent is challenging, it can best be handled with pre-planning and open communication such that all necessary decisions can be made in the best interest of mom.
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