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Coming home: when parents move in with their grown children

Millions of parents live with their grown children and, according to the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, the numbers are growing every year. A sudden illness or injury can quickly throw multiple generations together under one roof. However, with some planning, you and your family may be able to prepare for that possibility.

Financial impact

When a parent moves in, the financial impact on a family can be staggering. Normal household bills will rise with the addition of another individual, and extra utility, grocery and self-care supplies can add up quickly. Elder people often desire warmer rooms and frequently have special dietary needs. Your home may be remodeling to accommodate someone who is less mobile. Medical supplies and treatment not covered by insurance or Medicare can add up quickly, adding to the financial burden.

Some parents do not want to be a financial burden to their families. In certain circumstances, a parent may wish to contribute to the family income. This not only helps with expenses but also makes the parent feel he or she is contributing in a meaningful way. His or her estate plan can also provide reimbursement to the caregiver without jeopardizing anyone's current financial situation.

Some long-term insurance policies provide payment to family members who are primary caregivers. In certain cases, Medicaid may also pay relatives who provide care.

Primary caregiver concerns

If you or someone in your family intends to be the primary caregiver for a parent, consider the emotional impact on the caregiver as well. The emotional weight of caregiving can take its toll on the entire family. Additionally, a caregiver's employment is often negatively affected and, along with it, a sense of fulfillment or purpose. Forbes reports that most caregivers are women and more than half quit their jobs in order to provide necessary care for a parent.

Crossing state lines

Changing states may affect insurance policies, estate plans and health care options for your parents. Before you make the change, ask the following:

  • Does your area offer your parents the best medical treatment?
  • Is there a local primary care physician who is taking on new Medicare patients?
  • Are their supplement insurance policies transferrable to your state? Some states have residency requirements.

Estate planning considerations

It is vitally important to have your parents' estate planning documents reviewed or updated before they move in. If you intend to be the primary caregiver, you should have the legal right to make financial and health care decisions in the event your parents are unable to make such decisions on their own.

An estate planning professional can help guide you through the decision-making process when a family member needs your assistance. Consult an experienced lawyer knowledgeable about estate plans, health care directives and powers of attorney to make sure your parents' affairs are in order.

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