Author Topic: Financially supporting an aging parent  (Read 3882 times)

PNW Lady

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
  • Location: Portland, OR
Financially supporting an aging parent
« on: June 09, 2016, 04:22:49 PM »
Backstory: My MIL is a 62-year old, generally fearful (of all things), OCD, yoga-loving, first generation Chinese American. She immigrated to the U.S. (NYC) in her early twenties with her husband and had two boys (my husband and his brother - five years apart). Her husband basically abandoned the family when my DH was in middle school, leaving him to act as the "man of the house". Most of the paid work she has done has been under the table, but surprisingly (based on my understanding of her work history) she qualified for a minimum social security payment which she recently elected at 62 (approx. $400/mo). She speaks minimal English and although she has no verifiable (couldn't think of a better word) ailments, she is emotionally and physically frail (although she looks like a 40 year old fashionista).

About four years ago we relocated her from NYC to Portland, OR and got her set up in a cute little condo a mile down the road from our house. She was able to pay for the condo in cash (hallelujah!), but we provide her with an annual living stipend of $6K (she set the amount). My brother-in-law has also just recently started contributing $6K annually (he is younger and his schooling took longer). As annoying as my MIL can be, I love her to death for her frugal ways (I realize that may make me a bad person). She just today asked me to take her to the new senior community that is being constructed across the street from her, wanting to check out the prices. Sweet Jesus! A one-bedroom apartment for independent living is listed at $3K/mo; assisted living was listed at $3,500/mo.

Now to my question: anyone here financially supporting an aging parent? I'd love to hear what folks are doing in this regard as I'm largely unfamiliar with associated costs. This and healthcare are the big question marks in our otherwise nailed-down FIRE plan.   

MDM

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9413
Re: Financially supporting an aging parent
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2016, 06:57:41 PM »
Those costs are in line with what we know from a parent's situation.  Fortunately she has enough from SS + spouse's pension + sale of her house to cover it, at least for her life expectancy.

Any chance your MIL could get higher SS payments based on your FIL's work history?

Any chance your MIL would/could change her mind about SS payment start date?  See https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/withdrawal.html.

marion10

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 292
Re: Financially supporting an aging parent
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2016, 10:16:42 PM »
It might be worth while to check with SSA- if your MIL was married long enough, she could get either 100% of her earned benefit OR 50% of her ex-spouse's benefit. (Her claiming does not reduce the ex's benefit). Usually SSA does check for this.
Every county has an Area Office on Aging. They can provide you with a list of senior housing,including subsidized housing.  These often have  waiting lists, so you will want to check that out and there may be other services such as food stamps.

lizzzi

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2071
Re: Financially supporting an aging parent
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2016, 05:31:53 AM »
Ditto for making sure her social security is maximized, and for going down to your local Office for Aging and getting a handle on what is available for her in your area. Planning is going to be the key in helping her have a safe, secure future. Having said that, if her goal is to stay where she is and age in place, many times just a few aide hours, some adaptive equipment, and a personal alert button can keep a person safely and relatively inexpensively in their own home for many years. Start by asking, "In a perfect world, how would you like to be living in your senior years?" and then start working from there.

PNW Lady

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
  • Location: Portland, OR
Re: Financially supporting an aging parent
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2016, 03:23:36 PM »
Thanks for the responses.

We didnít have much luck in our earlier attempts to have a conversation with her about her SS options. As I mentioned, she is an extremely fearful person, and since she is convinced that she is going to die soon (which is entirely ridiculous as she is the epitome of health, aside from her worrying) she was not willing to delay her payments. She approaches life from a place of fear, so I have found it difficult to have rational conversations with her about her future.

Her condo is a great set-up except for the fact it is a second story. It is fortunate, although by intentional design, that we live a mile up the road from her. While any real decision making seems a ways off, I do like the idea of home support. And considering we will be FIRE by the time she really needs it, we will be able to help with many of her needs (driving to appointments, grocery shopping, etc.).

lizzzi

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2071
Re: Financially supporting an aging parent
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2016, 04:32:33 PM »
A second-story apartment or condo in a non-elevator building...where everything has to go up and down a flight of steps...can become a prison if the person's mobility becomes impaired as they age. This advice is general and broad-based, but after twenty years of community health nursing, I would say a wise part of planning for old age is to get in a living situation without steps.

yuka

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 376
  • Location: East coast for now
Re: Financially supporting an aging parent
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2016, 01:29:50 AM »
I don't know if this is helpful at all, but along the same lines of avoiding steps, I've heard that elderly women should try to do dips or something else to maintain some arm strength. This is because, in the event of a fall that requires hospitalization, women who are otherwise healthy, but who cannot lift themselves up to a walker from sitting position, are unlikely to be able to return to independent living situations.

KBecks

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1692
Re: Financially supporting an aging parent
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2016, 05:51:05 AM »
I know an 80 year old who lives on the second floor and she was not slowed down until she was in a car accident.  Don't stress over the steps yet but eventually, yes.


rockstache

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5798
  • Age: 2015
  • Location: Northeast
Re: Financially supporting an aging parent
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2016, 06:23:20 AM »
I know an 80 year old who lives on the second floor and she was not slowed down until she was in a car accident.  Don't stress over the steps yet but eventually, yes.

+1 My elderly relative did the steps at her house until 92 and then she was in a car accident. I think the stairs kept her young honestly. She got a good amount of exercise just from going out.

pbkmaine

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8294
  • Age: 62
  • Location: The Villages, Florida
Re: Financially supporting an aging parent
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2016, 06:54:16 AM »
Could she be eligible for subsidized senior housing?

Mrs. S

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 111
    • Royally Frugal
Re: Financially supporting an aging parent
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2016, 12:06:09 AM »
I can't help you out with the specifics but we are in the same boat as you. we support DH's parents and would possibly support mine if required. It is simply something you do in our country and we never question it. When we bought a house we thought carefully about the mobility issues since we have two 60+ year old and another 85+ year old to consider. We bought a first floor flat even thought the building does have a lift. (The way it turned out they are not living there but in a city closer to relatives and with a LCOL)
We had to go through a few years of building their trust and helping them get rid of fear, which was for us basically assuring them that we can cover emergency costs as and when they would arise. This might be one way to help your MIL see things in a different light. I am sure she knows you will support her if required her fear of abandonment might be the reason behind her insistence to get into senior community.
Also is it possible for her to get a ground or first floor condo in the same building? Does her desire for senior community come from need of companionship?

+1 My elderly relative did the steps at her house until 92 and then she was in a car accident. I think the stairs kept her young honestly. She got a good amount of exercise just from going out.
+2 the 85+ year old I talked about earlier has better strength and can walk longer than either one of the parents.

PNW Lady

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
  • Location: Portland, OR
Re: Financially supporting an aging parent
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2016, 11:24:30 AM »
I think it would be possible for her to get a ground floor condo in the same building; the only downside is that she would lose the agent commission for the sale of her second-floor condo. Also, one of the biggest draws to her current condo was that it was brand new when she bought it. She is extremely OCD/germaphobe, so if she did purchase a previously-lived-in condo, she would probably choose to spend some $ for things like new carpet, paint, possibly appliances, etc.
 
Iím honestly not sure about her sudden interest in living in a senior community. I will have to talk to her over the coming months to see where her head is at. Sheís done a pretty impressive job of developing a social network through the senior community center she currently attends in the last four years since moving here, but all of these activities depend on her driving. She recently ran a red light and got a ticket, which really shook her up. I should add that she is a really bad driver (which has little to do with her age, and more to do with her confidence driving). She does OK driving to the places she frequents within a 2 mile radius of her home, but anything outside of that gives her great anxiety. DH and I are currently in a very busy stage of our lives with us both working (although Iím currently taking a break) and raising an 8 year old, so we have very little time during the week to drive her around. That wonít change until we FIRE, which is at the very least 5 years out.

Mrs. S

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 111
    • Royally Frugal
Re: Financially supporting an aging parent
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2016, 09:40:15 PM »
I would do a calculation of how much it will cost her to shift to ground floor. Also giving her this as an option might tell you if her reasons for moving are related to company or other fears like steps, slipping etc. It took us a few years to get our parents out of their fears and it is a frustrating continuous cycle!
Also would she be able to develop a similar social circle when the senior community across the road finally comes up and others move in. would she be open to walking/biking more since that will take care of some issues she might have with driving- speeding cars, tickets etc.

elaine amj

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2993
  • Location: Ontario
Re: Financially supporting an aging parent
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2016, 09:59:35 PM »
My MIL is very similar - very fearful and convinced she was going to die (she moved in with me 10 years ago claiming she had not long to live). She does have heart issues and is diabetic so there are some legitimate ailments.

She was terrified about being home alone all day while we were working. It made her very anxious. So we found folks (usually without any qualifications) who were willing to work for minimum wage and come in for 2 hrs daily.

My MIL could not handle someone sitting around "getting paid to do nothing" so the lady would be hired as a cleaning lady- general tidying, sweeping, mopping, dishes, laundry. And cook lunch for MIL. We did this for 6-7 years and overall it worked out. (Although she generally complained endlessly whoever-it-was after a year or two). I mostly hired through posting an ad on kijiji/craigslist and thankfully always had honest, reasonably reliable help. This was a much less expensive option than a qualified aide. My MIL also got them to drive her to appointments (she'd pay extra).

Could finding someone like this work out? I found mature ladies often worked out. One time, we lucked out and got a young Filipino girl with a lot of experience who just wanted a side income while she waited for her work visas to process. Had her for a year or so until she got a full time job. Another time we got another Filipino girl also waiting for her paperwork. Only 6 months or so and then my husband got her a fulltime job at his work. My MIL was not happy with him LOL!

Would something like that work to bridge the gap to keep her in her condo longer?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk