Discussing Finances in Senior Living with Your Aging ParentsSkip to content

Senior Living and Finances

Published: Dec 30, 2022. Last Updated: Jan 8, 2023.

Discussing finances in senior living with aging parents can be a delicate topic, but it's an important conversation to have. According to a survey by the National Council on Aging, only 16% of seniors feel that they are completely prepared for retirement financially. Additionally, about one-third of Americans aged 55 and older have no retirement savings at all.

This lack of financial security is compounded by the fact that many seniors may not be aware of available resources or programs which could help them manage their expenses in later life, so it's up to you to provide that information and support.

Start a Conversation

Starting a conversation about finances with your parents can be a difficult and uncomfortable task, but it is an important one. Here are some tips to help you approach the topic with your parents in a way that is respectful and promotes open and honest communication.

Choose the right time and place.

It is important to choose a time and place for the conversation that is conducive to open and honest communication. This may mean avoiding times when your parents are busy or stressed, and finding a private and comfortable location to talk.

Show your concern and respect.

It is important to convey to your parents that you are having this conversation because you care about their well-being and want to support them. Be sure to listen to their concerns and ideas, and avoid coming across as judgmental or critical.

Be prepared.

Before the conversation, gather as much information as you can about your parents' financial situation, including a list of their assets, debts, and expenses. This will help you have a more productive and informed conversation.

Be patient.

Your parents may be hesitant or resistant to talking about their finances, especially if they have always handled them on their own. Be patient and try to understand their concerns. If necessary, take a break and come back to the conversation at a later time.

Seek professional help if needed.

If you are having difficulty having a productive conversation with your parents about their finances, consider seeking the help of a financial advisor or counselor. They can provide unbiased guidance and support to help you and your parents make informed decisions.

Gather Information

Gathering information can help you determine what is financially feasible for your parents and ensure that they have the resources they need to make a smooth transition to senior living.

However, having this conversation with your parents may not be easy. Many people are hesitant to discuss their financial situation, especially with their children. It's important to approach the conversation with sensitivity and understanding and to remember that your parents may be feeling vulnerable or concerned about their financial future.

So, how can you get the information you need if your parents are hesitant to share it? Here are a few tips:

  1. Start the conversation by explaining why you want to know about their financial situation. Let them know that you're not trying to take over their finances, but that you want to make sure they have the resources they need to make informed decisions about senior living.

  2. Reassure them that you respect their privacy. Let them know that you won't share this information with anyone else without their permission.

  3. Offer to help gather the information. If your parents are hesitant to share financial details, offer to do some of the work for them. This might include finding statements for accounts, helping them fill out forms, or even just providing moral support.

  4. Consider seeking the help of a financial advisor or professional. A financial advisor can provide objective advice and help your parents create a plan for their financial future. They can also help you understand your parents' financial situation and the options available to them.

Explore Senior Living Options

Once you have an understanding of your parents' financial situation, you can start exploring senior living options. Their living options will depend on their needs, budget, and preferences.

Independent living

This type of senior living is designed for seniors who are able to live independently, but may want the convenience of on-site amenities and social activities. Independent living communities often offer a range of services, including meals, housekeeping, and transportation.

Assisted living

Assisted living facilities provide a higher level of support for seniors who need help with daily tasks, such as bathing, dressing, and medication management. These facilities often offer a range of services, including medical care, rehabilitation, and social activities.

Skilled nursing

Skilled nursing facilities are designed for seniors who require round-the-clock medical care and supervision. These facilities offer a range of services, including nursing care, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.

Memory care

Memory care facilities specialize in caring for seniors with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. These facilities offer a range of services, including specialized programming and activities, as well as medical care and supervision.

Determine the Right Living Options Based on Your Parent’s Financial Situation

Once you've identified the right type of senior living for your parents, it's important to make sure that they can afford it. Here are a few tips to help you determine if their chosen options are financially feasible:

  1. Gather a list of your parents' assets and liabilities. This will help you determine their net worth and give you an idea of how much money they have available for senior living.

  2. Compare costs of different facilities. Senior living facilities typically charge different rates for different levels of care, so it's important to compare the costs of similar types of care at different facilities.

  3. Look into financial assistance options. Many senior living facilities offer subsidies and other forms of financial assistance to help seniors who can't afford their full cost of care. It's important to check with your parents' chosen facility to find out what assistance is available.

  4. Make a plan for long-term care costs. It's important to plan for the long-term costs of senior living, such as additional services or facilities that may not be covered by insurance. For example, your parents may want to consider a long-term care policy that can help cover the cost of future expenses.

  5. Check with Medicare and/or Medicaid: Depending on their income, your parents may be eligible for financial assistance from Medicare or Medicaid. It's important to contact your state's department of health and human services to find out what assistance is available in your area.

Make a Plan

Now that you've explored senior living options and determined the cost of care, it's time to make a plan. Consider involving your parents in the process to ensure that they are comfortable with their decision. Make sure to create a timeline for when you will need to start implementing the plan, as well as a list of steps and resources needed for each step. This will help ensure a smooth transition to senior living.

Constantly Communicate

Once your parents have chosen their senior living option, it's important to stay in touch with them. Constant communication is key to ensuring that they are comfortable and happy with their decision. It's also important to check in regularly to see if there are any changes or adjustments that need to be made.

One of the biggest challenges of having ongoing financial conversations with your parents is that their needs and circumstances may change over time. For example, your parents may experience a decline in their health that requires them to move into a senior living facility or they may experience an unexpected change in income. It's important to stay in touch and be prepared for any changes that may occur.

Talking to your parents about their financial situation as they consider senior living options is a crucial step in ensuring a secure and comfortable future for them. Remember, your parents' financial situation is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to choosing the right senior living option. It's important to also consider their needs, preferences, and lifestyle when making this decision. With careful planning and research, you can find a solution that best meets their needs and fits within your budget.

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About the Author

Ericka Nicolas

Writer & Researcher

Elder Guide LLC

Ericka Nicolas began her career in the banking industry where she learned the importance of being detail-oriented and well-organized, both of which she applies to her current work as a writer and proofreader. With her vast experience in writing, Ericka is able to produce well-researched and engaging content that appeals to Elderguide's target audience. She was able to provide readers with valuable insights on a variety of topics and ensures that all the information she provides is accurate and up-to-date. She takes the time to carefully study each topic given to her, which allows her to produce truly informative articles. Ericka's passion for writing and her dedication to producing quality content gave way to her goal of helping our readers navigate the complex world of senior living and make informed decisions about their future. Aside from her work at Elderguide, Ericka enjoys spending time with her newly-married husband and their dog, Yari. She loves cooking, traveling, and exploring new restaurants in her spare time.