selling home when your parent has Alzheimer'sWhen it comes time for a senior to move into assisted living, one of the most important items on the to-do list is to sell the person’s home. Often, the money from the sale is needed to pay for necessary care. It has to be done, but there’s a catch: only a homeowner can legally sell their home. If Alzheimer’s has already incapacitated the person, then getting this task done becomes difficult. Basically, you cannot act if you do not have power of attorney. Hopefully, your parent was organized enough to assign this power to a family member or other trusted person while they still had the capability to make these important decisions. But all too often, this step has been postponed, and now that the parent has lost capacity to make decisions, it’s too late. The caregiver’s only option now is to apply for guardianship of their loved one through the legal system. However, be forewarned that the process of obtaining guardianship is expensive and draining. For one thing, the court will need to award you the right to complete every step of the process. You need to have permission to sell the home, you need to get court approval of the sale price, and then you need to have permission to use the proceeds to pay for senior care. Getting these rulings made will take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple months, which seems to be a long time to wait when the money is needed now. The first step is to find a buyer who’s interested in the house, and then get them to sign a contract. The contract must state that the sale is conditional upon court approval. You can then file this document with the court and wait for them to review it and approve the terms of the sale. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for buyers to decide that this extra step is too much trouble. If they can find a house they like just as much without restrictions like this, they may decide to walk away from the deal. The process isn’t necessarily any easier even if the caregiver has power of attorney. Sometimes the title company puts up obstacles and challenges the validity of the agreement between the senior and the caregiver. They may want your parent to still sign something to approve the sale, or they may want to meet with them to confirm that they are incapacitated. In the end, the takeaway message is that selling a parent’s home is complicated, and you should be prepared for a lengthy and challenging process. Your best course of action is to find a lawyer specializing in elder law, who will be able to guide you through the process in the most painless way possible.
Our assisted living facilities in California make like comfortable.While many of us dislike change, for an elderly person, change can be especially difficult. Dealing with changes in their body, family dynamics and the like is already a tough process, but the notion of leaving home – their home – is probably amongst the toughest transitions an elderly person may face. As the adult child of an elderly person, you may feel strongly that a move to assisted living is in the best interest of your loved one. For example, safety may have become an issue. However, your opinion may not be readily shared. Your loved one may be leaving a home where they’ve lived for decades – the birthplace of countless years of memories. Moving away is a significant loss, and even if health and safety concerns necessitate the change, it is best to remain sensitive to the emotions that come along with it. So, how can you create the best possible transition? The following are a few tips that may help make the assisted living facility feel a bit more like home. First, take an inventory of the personal effects your loved one feels strongly about. While this could include any number of items, from bed linens to a comfortable chair or a painting, having the comforts of home always makes a person feel better. If you are questioning the items you should take, simply ask your loved one which items they feel strongest about. Their answer can, sometimes, truly surprise you. In the midst of these conversations, you may learn about the significance of certain items they cherish (i.e., could be a family heirloom, an item received in their “courting” days, etc.). In any event, it is important you do not simply assume, but that you truly get this part right. The only way to know is to ask. Second, spruce up their new home with colors, treasures and other items that make the space feel like their own. Photo albums, pictures on the walls, window dressings, etc. are all inexpensive upgrades that can make a world of difference. If your loved one enjoys hosting others at home, sometimes the very simplest gestures (like a candy bowl or other treats) can make this new space feel more like the home they left behind. Third, begin calling the assisted living center their home. If the place feels like, and is referred to as, a temporary dwelling, your loved one may resist getting comfortable there. You don’t want the assisted living center to feel like a hotel or worse, a hospital – you want your loved one to embrace this new community and to enjoy being in thier new space. Fourth, speak with the staff about your loved one’s unique personality and how to engage them in this new community. This conversation may actually turn into a brainstorming session, but this will give the staff a better feel for your loved one and what resonates with them. Just like your parents did when you were younger, help them find a peer group with which they can relate. For example, if your parent has relatively little trouble moving around, make sure they meet others who don’t have major mobility issues. Positive social connections are important, and you are his or her best advocate for that. Finally, nurture and encourage – don’t force. Give your loved one a chance to adjust, but be careful that the transition isn’t taking too long or met with excessive resistance. Watch also for signs of depression, and take the appropriate steps to get help if he or she seems to be falling into a depressed state.  
Entering assisted living is a life-changing decision that can cause a lot of stress and emotion that rivals other big events. Here are some tips to make the process a little easier. 1. Plan Ahead Gather the family together and decide who will handle what. Make a list of the necessary things that need to be done, decide who will do them, and when. If possible, include the senior in these discussions as much as possible. This will help ease the anxiety they will be feeling. Planning can also involve encouraging them to maintain a productive frame of mind and remain flexible. 2. Stay Positive What you’re doing is difficult, but remember that it’s the right thing. It’s natural to feel some guilt, but try to let it go. Take care of yourself, ask for help if you need it, and manage your own stress. Keep in mind that this process takes a toll on caregivers too, sometimes even when it goes well. You may be surprised to find that you are the one feeling forgotten if your loved one makes new friends quickly and doesn’t want to spend a lot of time with you. 3. Communicate Clearly About Tough Decisions Make sure everyone knows who will be doing what and who will be making decisions about financial and medical matters. Is it necessary for a family member to have Power of Attorney? Is a Living Will in place? It’s a good idea to have a conversation with your loved one’s lawyer and doctor about your options. These discussions may or may not seem necessary when entering assisted living, but having the conversation in advance can cut down on confusion during a future medical crisis. 4. Make Assisted Living Feel Like Home Personalizing the space can go a long way towards making it feel comfortable. Hang curtains, put decorations on the walls, and use a familiar quilt or bedspread. Beyond decorating, encourage your senior to become active and make friends in their new community. It’s the people who make a home. 5. Listen to Your Loved One Don’t forget what a difficult time this is. It can be extremely hard for seniors to give up some of the control they’ve had for all their adult lives. Honor their desires as much as you can and take their concerns seriously. Reassure them that you will be there if they need help and that they’re not being abandoned. It would be a good idea to set aside some of your time to be in their lives a little more during this period. At the same time, give them the space they need to adjust on their own – they can’t become fully comfortable with their new lives if you’re always there. Also understand that at this time, emotions over seemingly small issues can really be driven by something much larger. Sadness over a pair of socks that were lost in the wash could really be sadness about giving up a home and independence. Expect the adjustment to take a few months, and don’t try to rush the process. New homes take time to get used to.