In the 1990 comedy movie Home Alone, Macaulay Culkin plays the role of a young boy mistakenly left behind while his family flies to Paris for their Christmas vacation. The movie was a huge success, but such is not the case for seniors who are remaining in their homes without appropriate assistance for their long term care needs. While it is understandable for seniors to want to remain in their homes, it can be dangerous unless appropriate steps are taken to ensure it can be done safely.
With an estimated 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 each day, a growing number of seniors are “aging in place” rather than relocating to an assisted living or nursing home or moving in with their children. As reported in The Wall Street Journal (“More Americans Age At Home, Alone”), the primary reason being they prefer to stay in their homes. Unfortunately, this desire to age in place is often lacking careful planning to make it possible.
According to an AARP survey, 88% of respondents age 65 and older stated they wanted to remain in their home as long as possible. In my experience, I would estimate the number is even higher. I am still waiting to be told by any client that they cannot wait to move into an assisted living or nursing home. With children often too busy or residing far away and public and private agencies being unable to meet the overwhelming demand to provide assistance, some seniors are living alone when it is no longer safe to do so. As a result, many eventually have to leave their homes despite their desire to stay.
With 70% of seniors age 65 and older needing some type of long term care, it is foolish for any senior to believe that he or she is not at risk. The failure to develop a legal and financial long term care plan only increases the risk of being unable to age in place. This plan must include the likelihood that assistance with activities of daily living will be necessary and how such care will be paid for. Be sure to see an experienced elder law attorney to maximize your ability to remain in your home – for your entire life.
This blog post is written by Brett A. Howell, Certified Elder Law Attorney. The blog is written as a service of The Elder and Estate Planning Law Firm, P.L.L.C. This information is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For a consultation to address specific questions, please call (810) 953-3846.