Thursday, August 27, 2015

Eldercare Q-A: Is it possible to save money on Mom's care?

Can your elderly mother save money on health care, even when her care needs are rising?  Money is often a huge challenge for families looking for in-home care, assisted living or adult family homes.

Ask Rose and her son and daughter. .I met them several weeks ago. Her daughter said, "Mom has been in her home for fifty years, and she wants to stay there.  But the cost of in-home care is so high."

In this case, "high" meant $365 a day for around the clock caregivers, or nearly $11,000 a month.  There were other expenses, too, like the caregiver's groceries and household utilities.  Could we come up with care that was more affordable, but still high quality?

"Give me your wish list,"  I asked them. 

"A home filled with light."

"A large bedroom, with a private bathroom or least a bathroom nearby."

"Qualified, competent caregivers that speak excellent English."

"At least a couple of residents who enjoy conversations."

As we toured, we looked at the wish list.  And the cost. In an upscale neighborhood of Seattle, we found two homes with lots of light and gorgeous views of mountains and water. They had everything on the family's checklist. Price tag:  $8000 and $8500 a month.

Moving farther north to a nearby suburb, we toured a home that worked except for the size of the bedrooms.  Price tag:  $7000 a month.

About two miles north of the county line, but still within easy driving of Seattle, we found a home that met all the family's desires, and the bedroom was huge!  "We really enjoyed the caregivers," Rose's daughter said.  Price tag:  $5500 a month.  SOLD!

A savings of $5,500 a month, not counting incidentals.  Such a deal!  Moving to an adult family home, with two caregivers and four other residents, might not work for everyone.  Or it might not save as much money as in this case. But for Rose and her family, an adult family home worked well, saving in time as well as money.

"No more shopping for groceries, no more ordering medications, and fewer bills to write," said her daughter.  "Now we can spend time with her rather than doing things for her."

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