Retirement & Financial Planning Report

You may not be able to keep your parents from going into a nursing home but these tactics will increase their chances of living independently:

* Put money aside. Seniors who can dress and bathe themselves may need to hire someone to help with cooking, making appointments, paying bills, managing medications, etc. If saving is difficult, a reverse mortgage can provide the needed cash.

* Don’t rush into assisted living. Moving to an assisted living facility is usually a temporary tactic. The average length of stay is two years, after which residents often go into a nursing home.

* Be careful at home. An “elder-friendly” home (second railings on the stairs, grab bars by the tub, etc.) will enable seniors to stay there longer, rather than go into an institution.

* Designate an advocate. Frail elders need someone to provide support in dealing with home care workers, government agencies, etc. This should be a loved one who lives nearby.