They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. That expression is also applicable to persons in their 80s — they go in like a lion and out like a lamb. As they start going along in those years, their ability to discern and filter out the problematic elements of society become worn down.
We see the elderly become more vulnerable to Nigeria scams, people selling them bad investments, being taken advantage of on the streets. It is incumbent for children, therefore, to protect their parents. They must think about their parents’ style of living as well as their physical and mental capabilities — preferably in advance.
As an accountant, I typically see three styles of living for older folks:
1) Independent — As parents get older, they try to work out a simple living situation. They will find a small, basic home to live in, usually comprised of one floor and no stairs, and relatively inexpensive. The parent wants to live on his or her own which opens the person up to some vulnerability, but hopefully the parents have a decent support network
2) Shared space — Here is the situation where a parent moves in with one of their children. Depending on the capacity of the parent, he or she can either contribute as a grandparent, or else carry along medical issues that will impact the household.
3) The independent living facility — This is a growing movement, which, in many ways, is also starting to become the best choice for many. With this type of facility, costs are not exceedingly expensive, and the ability to have medical help nearby as needed is usually seen as a huge benefit.
Whatever the case may be for choosing a particular living situation over another, it is imperative for everyone involved to plan in advance. Often it becomes too late and untenable to move a parent out into a home or an independent living facility because the parent, in their advanced age, does not or cannot make such a life altering change without difficulty, resentment, and confusion.
As people are living longer and more productive lives, the need to plan for the advanced years is best done early on, with everyone involved in conversations and calculations. There is no one-sized-fits-all approach, but whatever decision is made, should be a well-thought out plan that takes into account both dignity and finances.