Boomers may need long-term care planning for aging parents

Conscientious parents often place the needs of their young children ahead of everything else. They pay for an unending flow of activities to further the child's emotional and financial growth,  including the major debt of a college education. There comes a time, however, when a parent reaches the twilight of life and must face crucial decisions for his or her own survival and care during approaching periods of declining health and increasing disabilities. This typically marks the last effective opportunity for child and parent to work out some basic long-term care planning under Texas and federal law for those challenging times.

For baby boomers, that time may be now, and it may come with a heavy burden of worry that an aging parent may become isolated and even poorly cared-for in those final years. People become embarrassed to talk about end-of-life decisions or long-term care, but these very real subjects can be avoided only at the risk of possibly causing emotional desolation to a beloved parent. The children may help to create a framework that will substantially improve a parent's emotional and physical comfort in his or her later years.

The critical problem is that both home health care and institutionalized nursing home care extremely expensive. For example, nursing homes cost an estimated $90,000 to $100,000 or more per year. Home-care costs less but could still deplete one's savings in a relatively short time. Sufficient funds, perhaps partially through insurance, must be provided to carry the parent through. One alternative is Medicaid planning, which can allow for nursing home placement without major burdens on family assets.

In order for Texas residents to take care of Medicaid planning or other long-term care planning measures, families should bring the elder law attorney into the mix at the earliest possible time. A variety of other options may be available, but the sooner that they can be initiated the better. It may be advisable to also seek the counsel of a professional financial planner where appropriate and affordable.

Source:, "3 Things Boomers with Aging Parents Need to Know", Leo Lagrotte, Feb. 4, 2016

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