Sometimes we must face decisions like how we care for our aging parents or loved ones. Should we sell their house? Should we have an estate sale? Hire a professional? An attorney? Where do we start when it comes to making decisions like these for our aging parents? Especially if they have dementia. Will they need elder care? We’ll try to cover some options to explore in this article and, hopefully, provide you with some hope along the way.
It’s not an easy decision to make and one that will most likely require the help of other family members, as well as professionals. For example, if your parent or loved one has dementia, they may be unable to communicate their wishes about what they want to happen to their belongings and property. In this case, you will need to decide for them.
One possibility to consider is selling your loved one’s home. It’s a tough decision, but if they can no longer live independently, it may be the best option. To sell the house, you’ll need to enlist the help of a real estate agent and make sure the property is market ready. You can also seek assistance from professionals who specialize in “staging” houses before putting them up for sale.
Another choice is to organize an estate sale, where you auction off your loved one’s belongings to the public. It’s a great way to declutter and generate some funds for their care. Just like selling the house, you’ll likely need the guidance of professionals who can help you “stage” the items for sale. Luckily, these professionals often offer both house staging and estate sale services.
When should someone with dementia go into a care home?
The duration a person with dementia can live at home can vary widely, but studies suggest an average of about ten years following a diagnosis. However, it’s important to remember that everyone’s journey is different, and some individuals have lived with dementia for more than two decades. Instead of focusing solely on the numbers, it’s crucial to make the most of the time you have and ensure your loved one’s comfort and well-being.
Explore options like in-home healthcare services, which can help them maintain their independence, dignity, and quality of life in their own environment. It’s a good idea to have a discussion with your healthcare team to discover ways to make your home dementia friendly.
Some things that can be done to make the home environment more comfortable for a person with dementia include:
- Make sure there is plenty of natural light and remove all trip hazards
- Put clocks and watches around the house and label cupboards and drawers
- Provide easy-to-eat foods and drinks and avoid strong smells
- Play calm music or sounds from nature and use rugs or mats to reduce noise
- Keep the home warm and avoid draughts
- Encourage social interaction by having friends and family visit or engage in activities together.
Who is responsible for a parent with dementia?
If there are no family members available to provide care, the responsibility for a parent with dementia typically falls to a Conservator. A Conservator is someone appointed by the court to make decisions on behalf of the person living with dementia, often referred to as a guardian in some states. This individual has legal authority over matters such as the person’s care, medical treatment, residence, and financial affairs.
In determining the need for a Conservator and selecting the most suitable candidate, the court plays a crucial role. While the Conservator is typically a family member or close friend, there are cases where a professional fiduciary may be assigned. However, having a family member in this role is generally preferable, as they possess intimate knowledge of the person with dementia and can make decisions that are truly in their best interest.
Taking on the role of a Conservator comes with numerous responsibilities. One of the initial tasks would involve creating an inventory of the person’s belongings and property, which includes their home, vehicles, financial accounts, and other valuable assets. Once this inventory is complete, decisions must be made regarding the management and disposition of these assets. These decisions can be challenging, but seeking guidance from professionals and consulting with other family members can help ensure the best choices are made for your loved one
The following are some options to consider when you are trying to decide what to do with a person’s belongings and property:
- How to pay for care
- What type of care will they need
- Where will they live
- Sell the house
- Rent out the house
- Put the house in a trust
- Keep the house and live there
- What to do with their belongings
- Give to family or friends
- Donate to charity
- Put in storage
- Estate sale
Selling the house may be the best option if the person with dementia needs expensive care and/or their condition is rapidly deteriorating. On the other hand, if the person with dementia is still relatively healthy, you may want to consider renting out the house.
If you decide to keep the house, you may want to put it in a trust. This will protect the home from being sold to pay for long-term care expenses.
Can I sell my parents’ house if they have dementia?
In conclusion, making decisions regarding the care and belongings of aging parents or loved ones with dementia can be difficult. Selling their house may be a viable option if they can no longer live independently. In-home healthcare services and creating a dementia-friendly environment at home are also worth considering.
When there are no available family members to provide care, a Conservator can be appointed by the court to make decisions on behalf of the person with dementia. Whatever decision you make, seeking the guidance of professionals and involving other family members can ensure the best outcome for your loved one’s well-being.
Taking the time to make the best decision for your loved one is crucial. Although we cannot stress it enough, always be sure to consult with other family members, professionals, and your support team before making any decisions.