In my practice, many older adults prefer to enjoy their golden years aging in place at home with the assistance of family caregivers. Older adults in this situation aren’t aging alone. It’s likely that they have adult children and grandchildren who visit regularly; on the weekends and during the week if needed.
If your adult child lives nearby or in a neighboring town, aging in place and growing older at home may not be out of the question for you and your loved ones. Yet, if your adult children moved away, they may not be close enough or able to help in case of an emergency or hospitalization.
Interdependence is key to establishing a viable caregiving plan. Transportation to get groceries, medication schedules, cleaning the house, and making daily meals tend to get more and more difficult over time. As an adult ages, it’s inevitable that their physical and mental needs will change as well.
Aging in place with independent living services
Aging in place works well during early retirement years up to the age of 70+ depending on an individual’s overall physical health, cognitive health, and quality of their care routines. At the age of 70, 20% of people are likely to show signs and symptoms of dementia. And, at 90 years of age, that percentage increases to 50% of older adults who will have a neurocognitive disorder.
The warning signs of incapacity can be subtle and difficult to recognize if the family isn’t visiting on a regular basis. Perhaps the adult children arrange caretaking and independent living services from another state. It’s commonplace among these families to not notice decline until they visit their parents for the holidays.
Long distance caregiving pros and cons
Long distance caregiving can work for many people. Depending on the situation, a move might not be necessary. Maybe you only live a few hours away and have a caregiver to take care of them when you’re away. Given there are no major emergencies or health issues, long distance caregiving can be a viable option for many people without a long term care plan.
Considerations for aging adults who move in with family and closer to caregiving services
The need for caregiving tends to become unavoidable after a major life-threatening health event. Older adults who suffer from a cognitive disability, head trauma, stroke, and/or degenerative disease (e.g. Alzheimer’s) may or may not see a need to seek out help. That’s when many family members and loved ones step in.
Top three reasons to consider moving as an older adult:
- Long distance caregiving isn’t enough
- Dementia symptoms and dysfunctional behaviors
- Health factors and incapacity
For the aging adult, it can be difficult to give up independence after living independently for most of their lives. In some situations, older adults who face incapacity understand the limitations and how important it is to have someone, a trusted friend or family member who can help readily be available. A major health event can also cause mobility issues, recheck appointments, and create a need for more access to care. All this can play a role in determining a parent or grandparent’s caregiving needs.
Aging-in-place only works until it doesn’t. We’re unable to predict future ailments and what health conditions that you as an individual will face. It can be a difficult decision for the older adult and their loved ones. For the adult child, making decisions about caregiving can trigger a sense of guilt. For the parent, they may be in deep denial about needing care or the extent of the care that’s needed.
At this point you may want to ask for professional help from a social worker or geriatric doctor to help evaluate their daily care routines of feeding, dressing, washing, budgeting, and banking. If conditions determine that assistance is needed; it is up to the aging adult to choose a trusted family member or friend to help. This decision is a vital step in improving your quality of life.
Long term care is getting more expensive
Many people like to save money on their expenses in retirement and make their estate investments last for the rest of their lifetime. And, many hope that any remaining balance to their retirement savings will go to their beneficiaries. Unfortunately, long term care costs are expected to increase by 9% in the future. Overall home health costs will double by 2030. Consumer out-of-pocket costs will grow from less than $13 billion in 2019 to more than $27 billion in 2030.
Inheritance tax, gift tax, and estate tax
There is also no inheritance tax in Texas. However other states’ inheritance taxes may apply to you if a loved one who lives in those states gives you money, so make sure to check that state’s laws.
Important questions to ask yourself when moving in with adult children
Modern families and blended households are more and more common in the United States. Nearly 17% of adults living in the U.S. care for someone who is 50 or older, according to a 2020 study by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving. It may not sound appealing, to uproot home and community so late in life. The good news is that 60% of that population say it’s a positive experience for them.
Question: What will it be like if I move into my adult child’s home?
This can be beneficial for both the adult child who will be caregiving, but also for the aging parent. It can be rewarding to move nearby or move in with adult children and their family. Not only can it save you money to live in one home, it can keep money in the family if you compensate them for any caregiving services. Consider that your child’s home may not be accessible. Updates may be required to help make elderly living possible.
Question: Are there retirement and assisted living communities nearby?
It takes a while to make new friends and build community in a new place. Uprooting your life to be closer to caregivers can be a significant challenge. Then imagine if you have to uproot again if there are no medical or assisted living facilities nearby.
It’s important to note that the signs and symptoms of neurocognitive disorders can start to appear up to two years before a diagnosis is given. Degenerative diseases are known to cause personality changes and in some cases difficult behaviors that require 24/7 supervision. This is one of many reasons why older adults are unable to live at home. For dementia patients, once diagnosed, symptoms can rapidly increase. They may forget names of family, who you are, where they live, and what age they are. The experience of caregiving for that family member can become so stressful, there’s no other option than to have them moved into an assisted living or memory care facility.
In the event, you or a loved one requires memory care, it’s best to find a facility that’s close enough so family caregivers can make regular visits. Look for a facility with a continuous care program, so patients can easily switch from independent living to assisted living; with nursing and memory care units all in one place.
Question: Which adult child do I choose as my caregiver?
There are many conversations to have and topics to discuss when an adult child assumes the role of caregiver for a parent. It’s important to have these conversations in order to avoid resentment from the caregiver and entitlement from the patient.
Do you have more than one child? If you’re not sure who to choose as an agent for medical and financial power of attorney, it may benefit you to name more than one. Read more about the pros and cons of having more than one agent as your power of attorney.
Question: Can a family member be compensated for caregiving?
Depending on the situation, the adult child can be compensated for caregiving, either as an employee or through Medicaid. You can also look into paying your family members for caregiving services with a caregiver agreement.
Important Steps for an Older Adults Moving to Texas
In recent years, Texas has been a relocation destination. Many people at all stages of life are moving to Texas. When an older adult moves to another state, there may be many logistics and legal documents to take into account.
A caregiver, family or friend, already living in Texas
You only need to know one person in order to move somewhere, especially if it’s a trusted friend or family member.
Selling your home
Depending on whether it’s a seller’s market, it may take a while for the home to sell. If your assets are tied up in your home value then hire a good real estate agent that can help circumvent any time delays, such as for inspection for repairs and has a large network. You may want to hire someone to help declutter and clean to get your home ready for the market. Also, consider hiring a moving service. Even if your adult children are able-bodied, this is not their home or responsibility. Ease their burden and your own by making your last move, your easiest one.
Downsizing to a new location, need for less furniture
At this point, families may decide to store, divide, donate or sell larger items such as furniture, pianos, and cars. You don’t have to get rid of everything, but consider your new space requirements and storage costs. Family heirlooms are usually not divided unless the parent would prefer to do that now, opposed to later.
Improvement to your quality of life and long term care
Texas has long been known as a booming retirement community. This move should be a way to reconnect with your family, form a closer bond, and establish a caregiving relationship. This is much different from the relationship you had as parent and adult child or relative. The dynamic of the family is important to know if it’s an environment where you can emotionally adapt to interdependence.
Update Your Estate Plan After Moving to Texas
Moving requires transferring all estate paperwork to a new state. From now on your will and trusts will require an estate planning attorney licensedin Texas.
Update five legal forms upon moving to Texas:
- Revocable trust
- Last will and testament
- Financial and medical powers of attorney
- Health directives
- Texas legal entity formation for your business or investments
Attorney Steven Holman provides insights into what options are the best fit for your estate plan. Call today or contact Holman Law to schedule a free consultation and learn more about moving your estate to Texas.
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