For an adult child, it can be very unsettling when you and your parents start to reverse roles. The older your parents get, the more vulnerable they often become. Consequently, you may find yourself becoming the caretaker as you watch your parents experiencing the physical and/or mental deterioration that frequently accompanies the aging process. At some point, one (or both) of your parents may reach a point at which nursing home care is necessary. Waiting until care is needed to discuss the subject can result in a number of negative consequences. Grand Forks nursing home lawyers at German Law Group encourage adult children to open up a discussion about the potential need for nursing home care early on, long before that care is actually necessary.
Face the Issue Head On –and the Sooner the Better
Although your natural inclination may be to put off talking to your parents about the potential need for nursing home care, there are several reasons why you should have the talk sooner rather than later. One of the most important reason is the reality that waiting may mean your parent does not get the opportunity to participate meaningfully in the conservation. As your parent ages, both physical and mental deterioration are likely to occur. When you add in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s or another age-related form of dementia, waiting to discuss nursing home care could mean that your parent is past the point of being able to contribute to the discussion. Furthermore, if your parent does reach the point of legal incapacitation, he/she will no longer be able to legally execute a Power of Attorney, a Living Will, or an advanced directive nor will your parent be able to legally consent to guardianship. Consequently, you will likely end up spending considerably more time and money obtaining the legal right to make decisions for your parent and/or control your parent’s assets.
Prepare for the Conversation
Given the importance of the conversation, spending some time preparing beforehand only makes sense. There are two primary aspects of any conservation about nursing home care – cost and location. As of 2018, the average cost of a year in long-term care (LTC) nationwide was just over $100,000. That same year, residents of North Dakota spent, on average $140,000 for a year of nursing home care—and that figure is only going to increase in the coming years. Have your facts and figures ready so you can impress upon your parent the need to plan ahead in case LTC is needed. It also equally important to have some locations in mind for your parent. You can find a list of licensed nursing homes in North Dakota on the official North Dakota government website. Another great resource for information on LTC facilities is the Nursing Home Compare section of Medicare.gov, the federal government’s official Medicare website.
Encourage Your Parent to Be Part of the Conversation and Planning
Acknowledge that you understand your parent hopes to live out his/her life at home, without the need for LTC while at the same time encouraging your parent to be pro-active. Focus on the new concepts in LTC and on the need to make decisions now in case they cannot be made later. Assisted living facilities, for example, are not what they used to be. Today, many of them are virtual playgrounds for retirees. Have some tours already scheduled so your parent can see for himself/herself. Nursing home care also offers many options that were once unavailable. Focus on your desire to place your parent in a facility where he/she will be as happy as possible. By discussing the possibility of the need for nursing home care now, everyone involved will be much happier down the road if that care is ever actually needed.
Contact North Dakota Probate Attorneys
Please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about which type of probate is required for an estate you are administering, contact a North Dakota probate attorney at German Law Group by calling 701-738-0060 to schedule an appointment.