Read a Son’s Story.
I didn’t know.
My parents summered in New England, wintered in Florida, and traveled all over with friends. During 65 years of marriage, they saved and invested prudently. They thought life would go on like that forever.
Then my father developed Parkinson’s. He had their house adapted for his growing mobility problems, including a custom staircase elevator that cost more than $30,000. (It also cost a small fortune to remove it when we had to sell the house.)
I didn’t know that his increasing inflexibility—especially about leaving the house—was the beginning of dementia.
By the time it became clear, we were under the gun. We had to place him in a dementia care unit. The house was too much for my mother, even with help. We had to sell it under duress and place her in a senior apartment on the other side of town.
For the first time in their marriage, they were apart. And my life became a daily shuttle from one parent to the other, taking each to a host of doctors, lab tests and social workers. The times they even saw each other grew farther and farther apart.
They had planned for a life together. They didn’t plan on spending down their assets on two separate facilities. My father’s long-term care alone ran more than $12,000 a month. In his last year of life, he’d apologize over and over for the burden he placed on me. He’d say, “You’re my father now.”
When we made all these 11th hour decisions, I didn’t know what a continuing care retirement community was. I didn’t know how it could have kept them closer, provided ongoing care and protected their assets. I didn’t know how much help was ready and waiting.
I know now.
Get help now.