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You always taught us how to live within our means and put aside savings for the future. I thank you for teaching us the value of money. With the rising cost of food, housing, and healthcare, I do my best to abide by one of the many lessons you told me to live by; save as much as you can.
I wish I was able to put more aside for a rainy day or to help with the cost of care to move both you and mom into a beautiful assisted living facility. When you decided to do a reverse mortgage on the house to ensure you could stay in the home we grew up with indefinitely, I envisioned you living there until the very end, worry free about the future.
One day, after doctors and social workers informed me mom can no longer live at home alone and you are too weak to care for her, the reality was beginning to set in. Mom needed to reside in an assisted living facility with memory care and you wished to be by her side every step of the way. I am so proud of you because you did well by living within your means…. A pension and social security check for both you and mom brings a good $2800 per month. With that, I assumed we could definitely find a place for the two of you.
However, I’ve learned a lot during my search for a new senior living community. The cost of care is very expensive especially since assisted living facilities are paid privately and charge extra for different levels of care. Because she needs to live in memory care, the rates are rather costly. Fortunately, all of us children are able to cover the difference for mom, but there is no money left over for you to live at the assisted living facility; there is no money left over for you at all. Even though you do have some savings for emergencies, that will only last a good 8 months or so and, then, we’ll be right back to square one. What are we to do in this scenario?
In order for us to contribute to mom’s care, we all have to work full time. If you leave your home, the bank will take it over and you’ll have nowhere to go. Some of us live out of state, so taking shifts to care for mom are out of the picture and hiring a caregiver is too costly. Guilt and sorrow have overcome me as I seem to have failed you because your life lessons of saving as much as possible for the future from our salary were simply not enough to help you and mom.
I reached out for government assistance and was told mom would be put on a waiting list to receive government aid. Unfortunately, we don’t have a clue as to how long it will be before we receive any help at all. So we wait. Some of the residential homes that are affordable are not where I would feel comfortable leaving you and mom. Is this my only option? Would you forgive me if I have no other choice but to go this route?
Dad, now more than ever, I wish I were sitting on your lap listening to advise about life’s lesson and hoping you have answers about the scenario we are facing today. What do we do and where do we go? I have to tell you that you may be living with me in the very near future and mom will have no choice but to reside in a safe assisted living for you to visit her as often as you’d like. Please tell me that this is okay.
A new lesson has been learned: never underestimate my future. Emergency funds help but planning for years after retirement to include the cost of care in the event I have no choice but to move to an assisted living or nursing home is crucial. This puts savings for the future in a whole new harsh light. Purchasing a long-term care insurance as well as consulting with elder care planners about options available seem to be the most promising future security.
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