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Affording Care for an Aging Parent

Retirement Funding Military Pay and Benefits

Arranging for senior care can be quite a challenging task. Not only is it often emotionally draining, but also expensive. This is especially true when the aging parent requires senior living with additional personal care, such as the services of a residential care home, assisted living community, or a memory care provider.  If this occurs while you're on military active duty and living a ways from your parents it gets even more complex

Countless seniors often find themselves caught in the dilemma of having too much income and/or assets to qualify for Medicaid, and therefore having to pay for senior care out of their own pockets. If you are in such a situation, don’t just give up on finding affordable options for assisted living. 

Here are some of the few approaches you may want to explore to help find quality and affordable care for your aging parent:

Research and Evaluate Your Options

The first important step is to research the various options for senior care at your disposal and evaluate their affordability. You can either decide to care for your parents at home or seek professional help for them at a nursing home or assisted living facility. Find out what the costs of caring for your parent at home would be, which may include tasks such as modifying the stairs and showers to allow for wheelchair access. It may also include hiring a caregiver, either part-time or full-time.

You'll also want to research the costs associated with moving your parent to a full-time care facility and decide if it's a better option than caring for them at home. 

Search Beyond Their Local Area 

When looking for affordable care for your aging parent, you might want to think about a different location other than where he or she lives. The cost of assisted living varies with location, just as it does with other types of housing. Consider moving your parent to another locality that fits your budget and is still easily accessible, perhaps closer to another sibling or relative.

If your parent(s) served in the military, make sure you also check the senior living facilities associated with their service like Blue Skies of Texas in San Antonio (while not strictly associated with the military, in this case their roots run deep with the USAF).

Tap Into Local Community Programs For Seniors

If your parent is aging and needs help with transportation and household tasks, but not necessarily medical care, a good option is to look into community-based programs such as Meals on Wheels. In most areas, it is common to find local community programs that offer care services to seniors for free, or at a low rate for individuals who qualify. Such programs may provide assistance on things such as transportation, household chores, and other day-to-day items that may be difficult for some seniors. This can significantly help reduce the costs of care for your parent but also prevent them from needing full-time, costly care. 

Consider Room Sharing 

In almost all types of senior living, shared spaces are more cost-effective than renting out a single room or apartment. Research the costs of individual vs. shared rooms, and make a decision based on the option that best fits your needs and budget.

Explore Veterans Benefits

If your aging parent served in the armed forces at one time, he or she may be eligible for veteran benefits to cover the cost of assisted living through the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). The Aid and Attendance Benefit from the VA provides financial assistance for veterans and surviving spouses who are housebound or need the help of another person to assist in everyday functions such as bathing, eating, dressing and undressing or taking medication. The Aid and Attendance benefit includes care received in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, or at home, and it applies to persons who are blind.1 But realize that the Aid and Attendance Benefit and the Veterans Pension are means tested and if your parent has significant assets or income, he or she may not qualify.

1Department of Veterans Affairs

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as investment, tax, or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.


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