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Preparing for Senior Living Costs: What You Need to Know About Your Loved One’s Finances

With all the benefits of senior living today, it could be a great option to help your loved one get the most out of life. But whether you think now is the time to make the move or down the road, there is something you should do right away: learn more about their finances. Yes, it can be a delicate subject, but here’s why it’s so important as you prepare for senior living costs and how you should approach the conversation.

Why You Need to Know About Your Loved One’s Finances

Many adult children wonder about that very thing. In fact, a GoBankingRates survey found that 73% of adult children haven’t had detailed conversations with their parents about their finances, while a full 22% don’t think they ever should because it’s none of their business.

That’s why when a crisis or unexpected medical event happens, far too many families are unprepared both financially (and emotionally). Quick decisions need to be made, but you don’t know what the options are, how you’ll pay for them or what your loved one would want. Family members may disagree on what’s best as well which further compounds the stress and uncertainty. Not to mention, if your loved one hasn’t given anyone power of attorney, you may have to go to court to be able to make financial and health decisions for them. In the end, this situation is far more difficult than any conversation would have been.

On the other hand, preparing for senior living ahead of time as part on an ongoing conversation with your loved one on aging and finances benefits you both in these ways:

  • Your loved one will have time to truly think through their needs, wants and budget to find the best fit.
  • You’ll be able to carefully research ALL the options without pressure which can help you both feel more confident in the decision.
  • Your loved one will be taking control of their future rather than letting reaction drive decisions, or leaving it up to someone else.
  • You’ll be able to better prepare financially not only in terms of what to expect, but in how your loved one will pay for senior living costs.
  • There will be less stress and burden on the family because you’ll all know for sure what your loved one wants, needs and can afford as well as the legal means to support those decisions.

Talking Senior Living Costs with Your Loved One

Before you begin the conversation with your loved one, put yourself in their shoes and really think about how you would want your children to approach you. Then look for an opportunity to bring it up such as an experience a friend has had, a concern your loved one voices about paying bills or even how a current event got you thinking about planning ahead. Above all, be respectful as well as collaborative and reassure them that you only want to ensure their wishes are followed. Don’t forget to include your siblings and other family members who will be affected too!

The financial information you’ll want to learn from your loved one includes:

  • Their Home– It’s market value and whether they’d like to sell to help pay for senior living or perhaps even rent it for income.
  • Their savings – What savings and investments do they have?
  • Potential income – Do they have a pension? What do/will they receive from Social Security?
  • What they owe – This could be outstanding debts and/or monthly bills.
  • Their insurance – Do they rely on Medicare, a private health insurance plan and/or do they have a long-term care insurance policy? Do they have life insurance?
  • Potential benefits – Are there benefits in which they are eligible that could help with senior living costs such as Veterans Aid & Attendance?

It’s also important for you to know where documents/account numbers, etc. related to the above information are stored such as bank, brokerage and mortgage information, deeds/titles, insurance policies, tax returns, monthly and/or outstanding bills, pension statements and/or social security statements plus any stock and bond certificates.

What’s more, this is an ideal time to ask about whether they have a power of attorney, living will, do not resuscitate order and/or health care proxy and if so, where are they stored?

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For more information download our Family Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing or call (224) 333-6247 to speak to a team member.