Aging Parents?... Overwhelming Choices!
November 09, 2012
Getting old is inevitable. Watching your parents not be what they were is heart wrenching. What's the easiest way to make this process even more difficult?...don’t plan ahead.
When it’s time to take on the new responsibilities of helping care for your aging parents, negotiating the world of eldercare is bewildering. Add in the fact that your parents don’t feel well or are confused makes your decisions even more important. Your parents don’t want to be a burden. You want them to remain as independent as possible, but they need help to negotiate the eldercare maze.
If you’re wise, you will discuss these issues with your parents beforehand. You will know what they want and try to get it for them if possible. How do you figure out what level of care is needed for your parents? When is it time to move into an assisted living facility vs. senior housing or a nursing home? Is there a way that they can stay home? Are there organizations that can help you make these decisions?
My mom recently went to a seminar regarding the little-known A&A benefit (aka the Aid and Attendance and Housebound Improved Pension benefit) that is administered through the Department of Veterans Affairs. If you qualify, you can receive up to $2,019 monthly for a veteran and spouse, and up to $1094 for the widow of a veteran. The seminar was free, but for $700 they will help you determine if you are eligible. This didn’t sound right to me. After some investigation, I found an article online, The New Old Age – A Little-Know Benefit for Aging Veterans (from the New York Times), discussing this benefit and some issues related to it. I found the seminars are likely put on by financial planners, not "out of the goodness of their hearts. They are trolling for residents who have too much money to qualify, to get them to move assets into annuity products that don’t count as income or assets and yield big commissions."
So, I am going to call my mom and discuss this issue. In the meantime, check out some of these books from MCPL and plan ahead. If you've already gone through the eldercare maze, feel free to offer us newbies some advice!
How to Find the Best Eldercare by Marilyn J. Rantz
The Everything Guide to Caring for Aging Parents by Kathy Quan
Stages of Senior Care: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Making the Best Decisions by Paul Hogan