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Defining Home

A house is just a house, but a home is different. It’s where you feel comfortable, where you make a life. It can be anywhere, from living alone to sharing a house to assisted living. Making that place, wherever it is, a real home, is what counts.

Will your parents stay in their home, or move?

There are many options but even those may change with their circumstances. Before you opt for any arrangement, make sure you—and they—can afford it. If you’re not sure, run the numbers by a financial advisor.

Housing choices include:

Staying At Home

If your family member wants to stay home, decide if it’s realistic? Consider the location of your home, nearby services and people. Understand what to consider and other questions to ask.
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Moving In With You

Think about what it means for Mom to move in—a closer relationship with your kids, far cheaper than long-term care and peace of mind. But, will living together impact your own family relationships or stress you out more?
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Multi­genera­tional Housing

Multigenerational living means three generations under one roof. Pooling money goes further and there’s no need for institutional care. You have built-in babysitters—but also togetherness.
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Cohousing

Living in their own place but sharing some space, meals and activities with others of all ages provides a built-in community. Many elders find this an appealing option.
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Shared Housing

Many people, typically women, and sometimes more than one, share a home. Your parent might move into someone else’s place, they might into theirs or they might find new digs together. Pluses: an antidote to loneliness, caring people to help, and cost-effective. Learn how to find the right roommate and create a contract.
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Long-Term Care

Independent living. Assisted living. Skilled nursing. Memory care. Continuing care communities (aka Life Plan Communities). Communities with tiered care on or near college campuses. Know your choices so you can choose well.
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Care Transitions

When a family member moves from one care setting to another you need to be vigilant. It’s a time when a parent can wind up back in the hospital because of poor communication, shoddy coordination or medical errors. Understand the questions you need to ask, and how to avoid problems.
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End of Life

Whatever your family member’s views are about end of life options, you need to have a plan—and a conversation so that you will know their wishes. Palliative care and hospice can ease pain and be a support for relatives.
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