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Senior Housing Options


Elder law is another aspect of estate planning, focusing primarily on the needs of families and individuals as they age. Issues of aging include senior housing and home care, long-term (or nursing home) care, guardianships and health care documents, and Medicare, and California Medi-Cal.

Senior Housing Options

Helping a parent move to senior housing can seem more intimidating than orchestrating a rocket launch. The death of a spouse, declining health or safety concerns can trigger the need to move. The first phase comes with the realization that what has been home is no longer suitable. Emotional ties to a place are hard to overcome. Finding a new home that is appealing and appropriate is no easy task, and neither is culling through a lifetime’s accumulation of “stuff.”

Here are some tips to help make the transition easier:

  • Plan ahead. Don’t wait for a health crisis to start the process. The smoothest transitions occur when the person moving is in the driver’s seat.
  • Get a full assessment of the current situation. Physical care needs and financial resources are where to start. Consider the costs of staying in place, including renovation and ongoing maintenance. Add the cost of rising utility bills and taxes, and don’t forget transportation and food. Make a list and decide whether it’s cheaper to stay or move to a community designed for seniors.
  • Take a multi-phase approach. Seniors often take longer than a year to actually make the move.
  • Fully explore new housing options. Senior living offers a broader range of options than ever before.

Attorney Dewey Watson is a member of NAELA, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. One of NAELA's newest projects is SNAPforSeniors™, an online search directory that is akin to the Multiple Listing Service for senior housing. The SNAPforSeniors™ database includes more than 60,000 licensed senior housing facilities in the country and is publicly available at no charge at www.snapforseniors.com.

Note: Nothing in this publication is intended or written to be used, and cannot be used by any person for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties regarding any transactions or matters addressed herein. You should always seek advice from independent tax advisors regarding the same. [See IRS Circular 230.]

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Tierney, Watson & Healy provides California probate administration, probate litigation, elder law and estate planning to clients throughout California and nationwide. Our California practice includes the entire San Francisco Bay Area, the cities of San Francisco, Alameda, Oakland, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol and Berkeley. With offices in San Francisco and Sonoma counties, we regularly represent and visit clients in San Francisco County, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, San Mateo County, Marin County and Sonoma County.

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