A growing number of Americans have had to make decisions and plans regarding the immediate and long-term care of their retired or elderly loved ones. Medical advancements have greatly improved life expectancies, and as a result, many more senior citizens are thriving well into their 70's, 80's and 90's. However, there is a higher risk of liability for senior citizens living on their own, or even with other relatives, due to their increased likelihood of injuries, falls or accidents. In the second part of our series on caring for aging relatives, we'll look at the financial responsibilities and decisions involved in caring for older loved ones.
Daily Care and Medical Needs
One of the primary areas to consider when making decisions about long-term care for elderly relatives is their daily care and medical needs. While some senior citizens may enjoy good health now, at some point these older relatives may require more daily care or assistance because of mobility or health issues. This may make it harder for them to remain in their own home or even in a relative's house, so assisted living centers or retirement communities may be a safer, more practical choice. Profits from the sale of their home can help offset the costs of long-term care in a retirement community or assisted living facility.
As seniors age, driving may become more difficult due to issues with impaired vision, diminished mobility, or decreased coordination. Adult children and caretakers need to consider the liability and safety issues that arise when seniors continue driving. For seniors still able to drive safely, there should be ample auto insurance coverage in the event of an accident, and for those with diminished driving abilities, it may be best to sell their vehicle to ensure the safety of older relatives.
Life Insurance and Estate Planning
Another major financial decision to consider with older relatives is life insurance needs and estate planning. Making proactive decisions regarding estate planning and asset distribution now can help alleviate the stress and potential family strife of making these decisions later. Wills and trusts can help ensure that valuables and possessions are distributed fairly and properly without survivors spending years in probate court. In addition, ample life insurance coverage can provide survivors with the financial resources to offset funeral and burial costs, as well as any outstanding debts or unresolved financial issues.
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