While it is ideal that most families live in close proximity to their loved ones. Most families are spread apart with some being a great distance in between, which makes it difficult to decide the best course of action when their senior loved one needs more hands on care.
The big question asked is…
When is the right time for them to come live with family OR move into assisted living?
Which is the right choice and when?
There are many items to consider in this decision. The National Institute of Health reports that 1 out of 4 caregivers live with a senior or disabled relative. Living with your senior loved one can be a mutually beneficial arrangement in some cases. However, as a senior ages, more monetary, physical and mental tolls can surface and to continue to provide care giving accommodations can be a struggle. Depending on a number of factors, many families like you have to weigh the costs versus the benefits. We will break down general areas to consider that most families need to determine.
What kind of care do they need? What are you realistically able to provide?
This is a big realization that many families consider as they may want to have their senior loved one come live with them but caregiving may not be an option due to too much physical or medical care is needed. Or the family member has their own physical or medical limitations to provide adequate care for the senior loved one needs.
Would a long distance move put the senior loved one at risk given their medical needs?
Depending on the medical needs, there are options to consider if moving a senior closer to family. Are they bedridden or can travel long distances within reason? Read this article on Tips on How to Transport a Bedridden Senior. Whether that be personally driving or hiring a long distance transportation company.
There are many benefits to move your senior loved one into the home. Senior family members are full of experiences and wisdom. They can bring humor, joy, and laughter. However, there may be negative feelings about your parents and other family members that may arise and will play a role in your decision to relocate or live with a parent. Take an honest inventory of unresolved conflicts or feelings of guilt or obligation that you may rehash. Discuss with your family what kind of stress may moving a family member bring to the whole family dynamic and how to manage it? Here are a few questions to consider:
- How will the move involve my spouse, children and siblings?
- How will my parent’s presence affect our family routine, activities and privacy?
- Are there unresolved issues between me and my parent(s)? My spouse and my parent?
- Does this mean remodeling our house or adding a bedroom or bathroom?
- Will I need to quit work or alter my schedule?
- Will we take my parent with us on vacation or get respite care?
- Will other family members help?
- How will I establish boundaries?
- How does my parent feel about moving?
- How do I feel about accepting this role?
Caregivers should make a list of income sources, assets, debts and liabilities. Combined with insurance policies and Medicare/Medicaid information, a financial snapshot should start to develop, which will offer the caregiver some guidance on money matters. Caregivers may also need to investigate whether their aging parents qualify for financial assistance, either from the government or community groups. Some caregivers have to decrease work hours or even quit their job in order to provide care for an aging parent, and when you add in the loss of employee-sponsored health insurance or a 401(k) match, it’s projected that caregivers lose over $600,000 over the course of their lifetimes. Even though many companies offer benefits such as maternity leave for new parents, few provide elder-care benefits. If a parent and caregiver live in the same house, there’s the cost of additional food, minor alterations to the home or the cost of gas to travel to and from medical appointments. It’s impossible to calculate all the expenses of having a parent live with you, but the American AARP estimates that caregivers who provide more than 40 hours a week of care run through an average of $3,888 of their own money every year on their parents, while those who give a lesser amount of care spend $2,400 a year. And time is money: The AARP also calculates that the economic cost of all that “free” care provided by children was worth $350 billion in 2006.
Other questions to consider:
- Does your loved one have a long-term care insurance policy or veterans benefits that could help cover costs?
- If they are going to live with you, will they share expenses?
- Do they have a full house of furniture and personal belongings?
- Are they ready to downsizing or have where do they plan on moving their things? How much will this cost to move?
- If they have a limited income, does your community have subsidized or senior housing for which they might be eligible?
These are a list of medical questions to go through when determining if your loved one should move in with family. This list is a quick summary of general medical questions and a good check would be to discuss with their primary doctor on pertinent medical needs and what the costs/needs are to cover their needs adequately. Be clear about boundaries before entering this new situation. There will be issues that come up but clear communication is key to avoid undue stress and miscommunications.
- What kind of health insurance do they have now?
- What is the availability of primary care physicians (PCPs) in your area?
- Does PCPs routinely accept new Medicare patients?
- Does your loved one need a specialist for a chronic ailment?
- Does my parent or senior loved one have mental health or degenerative cognitive concerns such as an early state of dementia?
- Does your loved one still drive? If not, or if they lose this ability, how will they access transportation?
- What are the costs to transport your loved one to medical or other needed appointments? Are they able to use public transportation safely?
- What are the expectations in your involvement in their medical needs? Do they need a helper?
- Are they capable to take care of small tasks in the home without safety concerns? IE, Cooking, cleaning up after themselves, or other daily household chores.
- Do you have small children or school aged children in the home? Are you comfortable or assuming they will help you with child care, babysitting or similar tasks?
Answers these questions is a starting point to determine if it is the right time to move a parent or senior loved one into the home OR if another option is needed such as assisted living or a nursing home. If you are still unsure on when is it time to move your loved one, read our article on Selecting a nursing home or assisted living facility. This article explains the difference between the two types of facilities and will provide some extra insight.
If you are ready to make the decision to move your loved one closer to family or into a care facility, then the next step is plan how to move your loved one. At Med Transport Center we provide MedCoach or Air Ambulance options for your loved one’s non-emergency medical long distance transport needs by exceeding expectations for the last 30 years in comfort, care, service and reputation.
MED Coach is designed for anyone who has increased medical needs or limited mobility, including the elderly, disabled, or even those who are just needing a little assistance during their travel. It is ideal for seniors or anyone seeking long distance medical transportation state-to-state or coast to coast
Med Transport Center is designed to help minimize stress mentally and physically to you or a loved one.
The MED Coach is fully self-contained with air conditioning and heating, a hospital-type bed with bed rails, comfortable mattress, pillows and blankets. This beautiful long distance motor coach is 25 feet long. Plus the hospital-type adjustable bed comes with a memory foam mattress and a variable air-flow cover for additional comfort and to prevent skin issues during transport. We also provide a comfortable recliner to sit and a travel nurse to help take care of you or a loved one during your journey.
We are the ONLY company who offers this type of vehicle for long distance transports. Many of our competitors use Sprinter vans or Ford Transits for medical ground transports. They fail in comparison to the size, luxury, amenities, equipment, and comfort offered on our MED Coaches.