You’ve noticed lately that Mom and Dad are starting to show signs of aging. Cobwebs and dust may be appearing in the previously spotless living room, or they’ve been forgetting things like appointments and medication. But your parents adamantly refuse to even consider moving to an assisted living facility or nursing home.
According to the AARP, nearly 42 million Americans are caring for their elderly parents, and many of them are facing a similar dilemma. Keeping your parents living safely at home isn’t going to be cheap, but it’ll likely be less expensive than an assisted living facility, which costs around $36,000 per year, or a nursing home, which costs around $77,000 per year for a private room.
Here’s what you can expect financially from helping your parents stay in their home:
Modifications to the House
In many cases, Mom and Dad don’t have the mobility they once enjoyed, and everything from stairs to showers offers potential hazards. While full remodels of a house are anything but cheap, adding or modifying a home in order to make it more senior-friendly can be done relatively inexpensively.
According to Forbes, the most common modifications include “hand railings, grab bars and lighting, as well as access and easy entry into bathrooms. Other common home modifications involve changing the entry and exit from a home or accessing a second floor.”
The average cost for making full-scale modifications, including the installation of extra railings, widening or adapting entrances, and adding items like stair chairs, generally runs between $20,000 and $40,000.
The other half of helping your parents remain in their home is making certain that they have whatever help they need to maintain basic living standards. If your parents need help with personal care, like dressing or bathing, then you’ll absolutely need to have someone come to help out daily. Even if they’re still handling their own grooming and dressing well, they may still need help with household activities like cooking, home maintenance, and errands.
In-home care can range anywhere from $14-$24 per hour. Depending on how often your parents need a helping hand, this can be an affordable option. The best bet is to find out what the going rate is for in-home care in your area, and then calculate the monthly cost.
One last way of keeping Mom and Dad safe at home is through the judicious use of technology. With everything from digital pillboxes (that remind users when they’ve missed their medication) to wearable motion sensors that can alert you (and potentially 911) when the wearer falls, modern technology offers new ways to fix old problems.
Purchasing these sorts of gadgets can be an inexpensive way to help your parents be safer at home.
The Bottom Line
Most seniors desperately want to remain in their homes. Who can blame them? Finding an affordable way to make that happen is possible. Just make sure you and your parents have honest conversations about your finances and their changing needs.
Have you had experience with aging parents? What have you found to be the best solution?