Author Topic: Move aging parents in?  (Read 5942 times)

Greg

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Move aging parents in?
« on: January 05, 2015, 02:29:53 PM »
I'm considering letting my folks use a studio apt. above my garage as a living area in exchange for my dad working for me.  He would have to work about 1day/week to cover expenses of the arrangement.  It's a rental that we normally would rent out to someone else.  Sadly their fancy-pants lifestyle (living on a boat) and other situations mean they have few options for a land-based living arrangement. 

Partly I see this as fulfilling my obligation to take care of them, partly it would make it easier for my dad to work for me as he already does, since his staying with us in our home creates various forms of tension.  They are in their 80's and while they're ever optimistic that their situation will turn around someday, I see it as their somedays are in short supply and perhaps it's less optimism and more denial of their situation.

In a nutshell:
• They have a boat to live on but in some ways are getting too old to do so.  They're otherwise committed to the lifestyle.  Selling the boat, while it makes sense, is not something they wish to do.
• They have a houseful of furniture and other belongings in 3 storage units where it has been for many years.  Effort to encourage and help them downsize have met with little success.  A year ago one unit was broken into and some things stolen, and a general mess made of the unit.  I've offered help to pare down the stuff (much of it is useless paperwork and out of date consumer goods) but this is also not welcomed.  I've managed one visit to find keepsakes, and managed a couple of boxes of photos, not all the ones I want to find.  The furniture and other goods are for when they get a house or apt, again unlikely given their finances.  My worries over the storage units are twofold; one the cost, two that they will forget or become unable to pay and the stuff (some of which is precious if I can find it) will be tossed.
• They are living on fixed SSI incomes beyond their means, but won't accept my help to gain control.  No savings that I know of, some debt which they don't want to talk about.  The boat payment is small.  More denial here.
• Mom has memory problems, getting worse.  Dad is in good health for his age.  They have Medicare or Medicaid or both.  Obviously I need to find out more but it's difficult with one parent unable to recall certain details and the other very defensive of her.

I'd appreciate thoughts on what I might not be considering about this situation.  They haven't committed yet are thinking it over, they visited last night to check it out while I paint etc.  Part of me wants to do what I can to help, the other wants to run far, far away from the entire situation, or, at a minimum, butt out.

Thanks.

RFAAOATB

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Re: Move aging parents in?
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2015, 03:11:23 PM »
Congratulations on your new boat.  They take care of you for the better part of two decades, now its time to take care of them.

Seriously when stories like this are either parents cant handle life/money at this age and elder abuse allegations.  How do you be a good kid/financially responsible in this arrangement while shielding yourself from elder abuse allegations?

TrMama

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Re: Move aging parents in?
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2015, 03:30:48 PM »
Whether they should move into the unit is a big question that likely has no "right" answer. Do they want to move into it? If you have a spouse, what does she/he think about them moving in? If they move in, could they downsize to a smaller boat?

Are there stairs to get into the apartment? If so, can it be made more accessible? Could you move into the apartment and give them the main house? Since your mom already has memory problems, if you move them I'd try really hard to only move her once. Moving can be really, really stressful for people her age.

In this case, I think the most important thing would be to get a POA/living will set up so you can manage their affairs if/when the situation deteriorates. I'd also contact the storage facility to see if you can "co-sign" the unit so they'll contact you for payment before liquidating it.

Otherwise, you cannot insert yourself into their financial affairs unless they want you to. If you require income from the unit in order to live/save/whatever, then tell them the price and let them decide if they want to pay it or not.

deborah

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Re: Move aging parents in?
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2015, 04:10:23 PM »
They are of an age where things start to go downhill fast. My parents are in their late 80s and neither would be able to do one day's work a week - and every time I talk to them they have just attended a funeral, or someone their age has just died. Mum said over Christmas that she only has one friend left - the others have all died.

What happens if they move into your unit, and in a year, your mother needs to go to accommodation, and your father can't work? I'm not trying to scare you off, just asking you to think through the implications and whether some other solution might be more appropriate.

As TrMama suggested, I'd co-sign the storage units, or suggest taking over the payments (and be the leaser), since some of the stuff is important to you. They may be willing for you to take over the payments if you promise not to get rid of their precious possessions.

Static Void

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Re: Move aging parents in?
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2015, 05:25:16 PM »
I'm going through some things with my hoarder mom which shares some aspects with what you describe.

(Several paragraphs deleted about her garage that she has wanted to "go through" for the last 25 years.) What I realized is: She is set in her ways, and I realized this will not be a problem she, or her family, can solve in her lifetime.

So for your parents and their storage space, my advice is: Don't push it. It's their STUFF, and for better or worse they need to know it is there. At their age, being set in their ways, including unlikely aspirations, is an important part of what they still have in this world.

... and make sure the storage place has your contact info for if they miss the payments.

GizmoTX

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Re: Move aging parents in?
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2015, 06:17:57 PM »
When it became obvious that my MIL could no longer stay in her home for her safety, her 3 adult children helped her declutter it for sale. Not only did she have all her mother's stuff stored in her attic, she had her grandmother's as well. She insisted upon looking at every single piece to make her decision on what to do with it. Masses of stuff would get moved to the detached garage for disposal, then she would change her mind & want it back. Finally a SIL packed what was still in dispute to a storage facility. She handed the key to my MIL, told her she could visit it every day if she wanted, & oh BTW, here's the monthly bill. MIL had it emptied within 3 months. Apparently she just needed some time to find homes for her stuff.

Initially she was very hostile to the move from the only house she had lived in for over 65 years to a 1 bedroom apartment in a senior community. It turned out that she could not imagine fitting everything into the apartment. Of course there was no way she could. The family helped her select a few favorite pieces to create a very scaled down version of her original home, with treasured pictures but no clutter. The place is optimized for senior living, with panic alarms & a large walk-in shower instead of a tub. She can do physical therapy & go to church there every day if she wants to.

One of her children offered to have her move in with them, but the senior community is better if it can be afforded. She is getting a much more varied social life with peers than she would have in a relative's home, & the physical setup is much safer.

Greg

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Re: Move aging parents in?
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2015, 06:40:48 PM »
Thanks for the advice... I won't take over the boat payments if it comes to that, I get sea sick.  Dad works for me anyway, so this is just another way to help them out in that regard.  When he can't work anymore (his dad retired at 96) and if they're still in our studio well, we'll see.

Mom may soon need too much care for my dad to do.  Unfortunately they aren't "plan ahead" types anymore.  I will continue to offer help with the STUFF but I have to give up on them getting control of their lives I think.

southern granny

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Re: Move aging parents in?
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2015, 06:49:04 PM »
I am surprised that 2 eighty + year olds are able to climb a flight of stairs, but don't expect them to be able to do it for long.  For that reason alone, I would shy away from this arrangement.  It would be horrible if one of them fell down those steps.  Look into income based senior housing.   My mother lived in a very nice building with secure entry, a certain number of the apartments were income based.  Of course, those had a waiting list.   I have seen ads for a website called aplaceformom.com, that say they help to find housing for seniors, but I don't know anything about it. 

Greg

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Re: Move aging parents in?
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2015, 07:15:59 PM »
They've looked at income-based senior accommodations, but they will not take my folks since they have such a large asset in the form of the boat.  And, "not ready to retire" even though they effectively did several years ago.  It's a mindset issue I think.

The stairs are definitely a worry.  They may in fact be a deal breaker for them.  Mom doesn't get around much so her mobility is very bad.

G-dog

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Re: Move aging parents in?
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2015, 07:36:24 PM »
There are those automatic chair lifts that can be added to stairs. I've seen the ads on TV recently.  So that may be an option.  I think these are ok if the papers on is still somewhat mobile, vs. wheel captain bound already, but it could probably work then too.

Good luck. I think the hard part is wanting the best for them, but needing to have realistic expectations of what they will really be willing to do/are capable of doing.

DollarBill

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Re: Move aging parents in?
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2015, 10:38:11 AM »
Do you know how much they receive in SSI?

I would research inexpensive housing nearby (Appt/small home) that can be paid for with their SSI but still have money to cover their expenses. I would also research State/Fed programs that help the elderly, so you know what's out there before an emergency happens.

- The boat can always be sold later hopefully for a profit if not let the loan default.
- Rent out your studio apt. this money would help if they start to rely on you for income.

However, I would do nothing unless they ask for your help. Just have a game plan for if/when it happens so you can jump into action. Have it organized so you can show it to them on paper (Budgets, places, facts, options). But I would mention to them about how much money they are wasting on storage (once again on paper). That has to be a large amount for 3 units.

My Mom is so stubborn about moving. She has night blindness and tunnel vision (has not been able to drive for about 20yrs). She does not live close to any relatives and relies on friends and neighbors to get to appointments, grocers. Luckily, she has a good gov pension and a paid off house. I've been saying for years that she should move closer to my sister or myself or look into one of those active retirement communities. I finally took her to one (Sun City in Austin, my Sister lives there). She loved it, hell I loved it (they need to make them for my age). I have a feeling that she will never make up her mind to actually move until something bad happens. So now when I talk with her on the phone I randomly ask if she's ready to move yet (In a fun way).

Good luck to ya!   

 

HattyT

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Re: Move aging parents in?
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2015, 05:11:33 PM »
Some words of caution about the mobile stair thing.  I’ve heard they are great for 3 - 6 months.  After that the typical clients abilities decline enough to need other more expensive arrangements.  Source: A Bittersweet Season Caring for Our Aging Parents — and Ourselves
by Jane Gross

You are going to want to be aware of their other options if/when the arrangement doesn’t work for your family or if/when their needs increase.  You don’t want anyone to feel stuck.

Read as much as you can on the topic.  Ask good questions.
Wishing you the best of luck as you make your decisions.

Chrissy

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Re: Move aging parents in?
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2015, 06:18:43 PM »
Do you know where the storage units are?  Could you call the company/companies, and have your information added as an "emergency contact"?

Greg

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Re: Move aging parents in?
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2015, 09:53:16 AM »
Thanks for everyone's thoughts.  They've decided to take the offer of the apt., and will be moving in soon.  Mom has a baby grand piano that she would like to move in, which will be a struggle with the stairs, might not even fit, but not a deal breaker.  My opinion is that having it out of storage to play may help with her cognitive problems.

The stairs will be a challenge.  Mom thinks it will help her get stronger, we'll see. I may be adding a second handrail.  Fresh packed gravel is planned for the short path to the entry, currently it's uneven wood chips.

I've replaced the toilet with a taller model, and am installing grab bars in the bathroom.

Them living there will either work out great, or not very well, I think a lot will depend on my ability to help them without being too pushy.  My sister and I are going to meet to strategize next steps re: legal and financial stuff.  The building is about 100' from our home, so a good amount of separation.

Wish me luck!

pzxc

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Re: Move aging parents in?
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2015, 09:54:04 AM »
Good luck!

TrMama

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Re: Move aging parents in?
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2015, 10:32:45 AM »
Good luck! You are a good son to take such care for them. If the baby grand doesn't fit, see if she'll swap if for an upright. In my area, free uprights are available all the time on Craigslist.

FTR we bought a larger home with a basement suite and moved MIL into it 4 years ago. We weren't expecting her to live more than 4 years due to the crappy survival rate of her ailments. However, she obviously really likes living with us too, since she's still kicking and is frankly in as good shape as she's ever been.

Catbert

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Re: Move aging parents in?
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2015, 11:15:29 AM »
Good luck!  I think you've made a good decision...in part because none of it closes off other options.  If it doesn't work out none of you have really lost anything.  You can go back to renting out the apartment and they can move...wherever.

LadyStache

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Re: Move aging parents in?
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2015, 11:27:05 AM »
The stairs will be a challenge.  Mom thinks it will help her get stronger, we'll see. I may be adding a second handrail.  Fresh packed gravel is planned for the short path to the entry, currently it's uneven wood chips.

The stairs may be easier than getting on and off the boat. The second handrail idea sounds like a good one. Maybe consider rubber outdoor tiles for the path outside? I saw them used outside of a retirement home once. Textured ones add traction so there's added slip resistance (the smooth ones can be slippery so avoid them) and if there is a fall, it's more cushioned.

deborah

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Re: Move aging parents in?
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2015, 12:59:47 PM »
I hope it all works out well for you!

TerriM

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Re: Move aging parents in?
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2015, 01:55:29 PM »
The stairs will be a challenge.  Mom thinks it will help her get stronger, we'll see. I may be adding a second handrail.  Fresh packed gravel is planned for the short path to the entry, currently it's uneven wood chips.

The stairs may be easier than getting on and off the boat. The second handrail idea sounds like a good one. Maybe consider rubber outdoor tiles for the path outside? I saw them used outside of a retirement home once. Textured ones add traction so there's added slip resistance (the smooth ones can be slippery so avoid them) and if there is a fall, it's more cushioned.

I know one older lady who does stairs, and it's what keeps her in shape.

As for rubber--I would definitely ask a nurse or some eldercare people.  This may be a tripping hazard if they don't pick their feet up enough.

Greg

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Re: Move aging parents in?
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2015, 10:16:05 PM »
The stairs may be easier than getting on and off the boat. The second handrail idea sounds like a good one. Maybe consider rubber outdoor tiles for the path outside? I saw them used outside of a retirement home once. Textured ones add traction so there's added slip resistance (the smooth ones can be slippery so avoid them) and if there is a fall, it's more cushioned.

Good point about the boat. Dad doesn't let her stay onboard when he's here working.  So this will probably be easier for their relationship as well.  I didn't think about something like rubber tiles/mats, but the gravel will be a good base regardless.  There is an LED light above the path that is always on when it's dark.

MayDay

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Re: Move aging parents in?
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2015, 04:38:49 AM »
My grandma got quite bad at stairs but refused to move out of her upstairs apartment (she was 100% mentally). She went up and down them on her bum for years to avoid moving.

Good luck with the arrangement. Maybe you can push going through storage in order to furnish the apartment.