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An older loved one is having difficulty managing in the family home. Decisions about finding support for your loved one, either through services that would allow the individual to remain at home or a move to another setting; are often fraught with emotion.

This emotion stems from the uncertainties of aging, fears about the loss of independence, society’s general discomfort with mortality, and concerns about the costs of care. Thoughts about the possible sale of the family home may also contribute to heightened emotions during this time.

Many of the older adults we interact with have a common goal of wanting to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has published statistics that underscore potential challenges to this goal.

Of people turning age 65 right now, 70 percent of them will require some type of long-term care services and supports during the remainder of their lives. Although one-third of people will never need these supports, 20 percent of those who do will need them for longer than five years. On average, women require 3.7 years of supportive services while men will require 2.2 years.

Most of the care required by older adults is currently provided in the home and community setting, and 80 percent of this care is performed by unpaid family caregivers. The ability of family caregivers to provide needed assistance is dependent upon many factors, such as geography; the types of caregiving tasks that are required; the frequency of these tasks; and each potential caregiver’s personal, professional and financial situation.

Questions that may arise include:

  • Will the family caregiver need to stop working or decrease hours in order to meet the older adult’s needs?
  • Should the older adult move in with the caregiver’s family, or the caregiver (and maybe family) move in with the older adult?
  • Can a family member be paid to provide care?
  • How can the family home be preserved for another family member or protected from the costs of long-term care?
  • What professional services are available to support an older adult in the community and how much do they cost?
  • Is there planning which can be done before care needs develop to address some of these questions?

Creative solutions may be needed in order to maximize the effectiveness and benefits of family and paid caregiving for care recipients as well as their caregivers. Help may be needed to sort out the technicalities and appropriateness of various solutions such as a trust, life estate deed or transfer of home ownership.

Attorney Dave Nesbit will be presenting a free seminar, titled “Balancing Care Needs and Preserving the Family Home,” which will cover these topics and more. The seminar will be held on Thursday, Oct. 18 at 3 p.m. at our office, 555 Gettysburg Pike, Suite B-300, Mechanicsburg. Registration is not required.

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Learn more about the article’s author, and other community education opportunities, at www.keystoneelderlaw.com. Check out the book, “Long Term Care Guide: Essential Tools for Solving the Elder Care Puzzle,” at the Whistlestop Bookshop or Amazon, and see Keystone’s free directory of services for older adults at www.mypeaceguide.com. Keystone Elder Law has offices in Mechanicsburg and Carlisle. Call 717-697-3223 for a free telephone consultation.