“You Can’t Go Home Again.” Or can you?
When Thomas Wolfe wrote his novel, it is unlikely he contemplated that someday the title of his work would hold meaning for boomers trying to figure out what the next step is for parents or elderly relatives who have been hospitalized.
But, according to financial advisors who work with boomers, the question does hold meaning and is one that is beginning to be asked with more frequency.
Planners will see more of these situations, and as boomers face this issue, it is even possible that a whole new area of financial planning could develop, says Karen Eddy, a certified financial planner with Eddy Financial Planning, San Diego.
For instance, Eddy says she sees clients who have relatives with deteriorating mental abilities who are considering hiring help or have placed a relative in a facility without understanding “the financial implications of a long-lived Alzheimer’s relative.” In one case, she says, a man opted for home care for a mother who showed signs of deteriorating. Eddy says a 6-9 month watching period was established to observe the mother’s abilities and see if this was the right healthcare choice.
Cost of care, advisors say, is as much a factor when determining what to do as the amount and quality of care needed.
Going home after a stay in a hospital or a rehabilitation clinic is a possibility, says Kevin Gahagan, a certified financial planner with Mosaic Financial Partners Inc., San Francisco, but that can be quite expensive.
The decision is a mix of quality of life and cost, says Sharon Luker, a certified financial planner and holder of C-LTC and certified senior advisor designations.
One client specifically wanted her mother at home–even though home care was costing $220 a day–because she believed her mother would receive better care than if she were in a nursing home facility.
There are many sources for comparing costs of the different venues for care.
The New York Insurance Department website estimates that in 2004, nursing home care averaged about $238 per day in upstate New York and $316 per day downstate, or between $86,000 and $115,000 per year. The average stay, according to the New York website, is 2.5 years.