According to Genworth’s 2020 survey, the cost of assisted living in Houston can range from $3,800 to $6,000 or even more a month. Most families depend on private funds to pay for elderly care in Houston. And, while many seniors may have been saving for their retirement for many years, family members often must contribute to senior living expenses. This can lead to disagreements and tensions, especially if some siblings are wealthier than others. How should your family decide how much everyone should contribute?
First things first. Do your homework. When selecting a Houston assisted living community, carefully consider which services, amenities and features are necessary and which are optional. What level of care does your loved one need? Then, identify a short list of preferred communities and determine their cost. Next, understand what funds are available through your parents’ savings accounts, retirement plans, insurance policies and other assets before calculating needed family contributions. Once you gather facts, call a family meeting to present your findings and make a plan.
To create a positive, collaborative space, open by acknowledging your siblings’ contributions to your parents care to date, no matter how small. This will establish you as partners who are working to solve the issue together. Next, state the problem in a straightforward manner. Explain the situation and provide insight into why you are unable to cover all remaining assisted living expenses on your own. Then, ask if your family members will help you develop a reasonable cost-sharing strategy. Be specific about amounts needed and any additional caregiving requirements, such as visits, serving as the emergency contact, medical decisions or managing your parent’s finances. If you’re unable to split the financial contributions evenly, explore ways to involve others that play to their strengths. For example, if there is a family home to sell, siblings with available funds could contribute more with the promise of repayment when the asset is sold. Agree to revisit the plan every 6 months, to account for the evolving care needs of your parent and your own changing life circumstances.
If you cannot arrive at a mutually acceptable solution, consider bringing in a mediator to assist. A neutral party can help you put aside sibling rivalries and old family dynamics, see common ground and focus on the wellbeing of your senior parent.
Discussing finances with your family is never easy, regardless of the circumstances. Do not delay this difficult but necessary conversation. Getting everyone together will make it possible to come to agreements and prevent feelings of resentment or guilt among siblings, so you all can focus on providing the best care for your loved one.